Phone-hacking scandal forces ‘News of the World’ to shut down

After 168 years of operation, popular British tabloid News of the World will publish its last issue on Sunday, reports The Telegraph. The shut down of the world’s most-read English language newspaper, caused by a cellphone hacking scandal carried out by some of the paper’s staff, was announced today by James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who owns News of the World parent company News Corp.

“This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World. Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper,” said Murdoch in a statement. “In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes.”

Murdoch added that the newspaper had “failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose.”

The phone-hacking scandal has been brewing since 2007, when it was discovered that News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and reporter Clive Goodman were arrested, tried and imprisoned for hacking the phones of Princes William and Harry.

In 2010, The New York Times Magazine revealed that phone-hacking had become a standard technique used in the News of the World newsroom (as well as other British tabloids), and had been used on celebrities, politicians and soccer stars. News of the World firmly denied allegations that phone-hacking was widely used in the newsroom.

Over the past week, however, reports have uncovered that the tabloid hacked into the voicemail of a 13-year-old girl, who was later found murdered. In doing so, the paper deleted voicemails in the girl’s inbox to make room for new voicemails. Because of this deleted evidence, police and the girl’s family were led to believe she was still alive.

Also on the list of people hacked by News of the World employees are the families victims of the July 2005 terrorist attacks on London and Madrid, as well as soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The British public had put up with the wicked ways of News of the World when they only involved the rich and famous. But revelations that common people had been victimized by the practice sent the public into a righteous fury, and advertisers began to flee. Some even wonder if Rupert Murdoch, who has been widely criticized for his crass handling of the scandal, can survive the debacle unscathed.

Several News of the World editors have been arrested, or are about to be arrested, because of their alleged involvement in the sordid affair.

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