Thursday 14 December 2017

End of the World: Murdoch closes paper after hacking reporters

The News of the World will close after a final edition this weekend, News International chairman James Murdoch dramatically announced this afternoon.

Sensational revelations about how the paper hacked in to the phone accounts of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, the parents of the children murdered in Soham and the families of 7/7 victims and dead British soldiers, have reverberated around the globe.

This Sunday’s edition of the newspaper will be the last one ever and revenues from it will be donated to charity.

Mr Murdoch said in a statement: "Having consulted senior colleagues, I have decided that we must take further decisive action with respect to the paper. This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World.

“You do not need to be told that The News of the World is 168 years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain’s largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation.

“When I tell people why I am proud to be part of News Corporation, I say that our commitment to journalism and a free press is one of the things that sets us apart. Your work is a credit to this.

“The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.

“The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.

“This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World. Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper.

“In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes.

“While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations – many of whom are long-term friends and partners – that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity. “

He said that any ad space in the last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to the paper’s millions of readers.

It emerged today that The News of the World paid bribes of over £100,000 to police officers.

Scotland Yard detectives are now trying to identify up to five officers who received the cash payments between them. In documents supplied to the police by News International the officers are referred to by pseudonyms.

Meanwhile the list of companies which have withdrawn advertising from the News of the World or related companies continued to grow until Mr Murdoch’s announcement after 4.30pm

Shares in News Corporation, the parent of News International also continued their slump today as billions were wiped off their value since damaging revelations about the newspaper grew legs on Monday

The shares are traded in New York and Sydney and the slump mirrored investor reaction across the globe as they pulled out of the stock.

Having lost more than the equivalent of €1.5bn since Monday, the shares gave up a further 3.6pc in Australian today to close at $16.55 (€12.46).

In the US, News Corporation stock is also continuing to lose value.

As the shares slumped, the number of advertisers pulling from the newspaper continued today including Sainsbury’s and O2 following a lead set by motor firm Ford earlier this week.

And the British Government said it was“urgently” reviewing its advertising contracts with the News of the World.

It is also delaying a decision that would allow News Corporation fully takeover TV subscription giant BSkyB until September – the media giant already owns more than 60.9pc of the firm.

Shares in BSkyB have also tanked since Monday.

Since then, more damaging allegations about the behaviour of the News of the World's journalists have emerged.

According to reports earlier today, personal details corresponding to the relatives of dead British service personnel were discovered in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, one of the private investigators who hacked phones for the newspapers.

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation, finally entered the fray yesterday, when he issued a statement condemning the alleged crimes perpetrated by News of the World employees.

He also backed the leadership of Rebekah Brooks, News International’s chief executive, in the face of calls for her resignation.

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