If you have been living in the UK the past few days, then you would know about the scandal that has forced one of the main Sunday newspapers, The News Of The World, to be axed by it's owner, Rupert Murdoch and his company, News International.
But for those of you for don't or haven't heard the news on this, let me try to explain. In the past few months, allegations that the Sunday paper have "phone hacked" celebrities and politicians have be rumoured and reported in the news. It has been rumoured that the Police had identified over 4,000 possible targets, including Kate Middleton, John Prescott, Tony Blair and actors such as Hugh Grant and Sienne Miller.
But, the past several days, allegations have suddenly arisen that the newspaper has been phone-hacking murder victims and their families. The allegations are that the families of Milly Dowler, and families who have lost loved one in the army and from July 7th Bombings have had their phones hacked (which is ironic when the News of the World's sister, The Sun, was one of the main backers for the charity, Help The Heroes).
The reaction from other newspapers and the public was instant. Facebook groups and Twitter Hashtags were set up and used (#SayNoToNOTW & #BoycottNOTW). Companies withdrew their advertising from the paper, the first being Ford, but closely followed by Boots, ASDA, Sainsbury's, Specsavers among others. The government had an emergency session in parliament (which is rare in itself), where politicians demand an independant public inquiry.
The decision was made by Rupert Murdoch to close the newspaper down, after he sent each of his employees an email, stating how appaled he was by this behaviour and that it had no place within his newspapers. This Sunday, from the information I have gathered, will be the last time it will print under the News Of The World name, and all the revenue will go to good causes. Up to 200 jobs could be lost due to the newspaper being axed. The rumour is that it will be replaced by The Sun on Sunday.
Now, am going to try and write this unbiased, which is hard as I think I know where I stand, but I can see both side of the story.
First of all, phone hacking is ILLEGAL in this country and, from the information I can gathering from the papers, internet and TV, the journalists in question were FREELANCE journalists. These journalists work for no newspaper but will be hired by one to investigate or write up a story.
But the question that everyone wants to know is did the editors at the time - Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson - knew of these phone hacking? At the present moment, Rebekah is the execitive at News International and Andy Coulson was the head of Communcations for the Prime Minister, David Cameron, until he resigned in January of this year when the first bout of the phone hacking scandal was revealed earlier this year. According the BBC, at the time of writing this article, Andy Coulson has been arrested by Police "…investigating phone hacking and corruption allegations".
The reason people are furious over the News of the World is that they did the phone-hacking as they phone-hacked people who were victims of crime and were going through the grief of losing a loved one, which is a very personal and private affair. In the case of Milly Dowler, it has been reported that the private investigator deleted voicemail messages from Milly's mobile, giving the family false hope that she was still alive.
And yet, these are the same readers who didn't seem to mind when the newspaper was first reported on doing this to celebrities because this was the time when celebrities were beginning to use Super-Injections.
Also, we must take into consideration that this phone-hacking has gone back since 2002 and it seems highly that they would still be working at the newspaper. Both the newspaper's current editior, Colin Myler, and the showbiz editor, Dan Wooton, have said that the newspaper of the 200 jobs being lost as "shocking" and that these people shouldn't be affect by "the actions of a few."
Now, if you are cynical, then you will be saying that the reason Rupert Murdoch axed the News of the World is because his company, News International, is trying to take 100% control of BSkyB and the Secretary of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, is deciding whether or not this buyout is within the law and is suitable within the rules of fair competition. News International is global company that owns BSkyB and newspapers The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times in the UK, while owning Fox and Fox News in the USA and others through the world. People are saying the News of the World being axed is a knee-jerk reaction to create disance from the scandal and the possible goal. If people lost their jobs and News International gets 100% control of BSkyB, what does it matter?
Surely it would have been easier to stop printing News of the World till the whole situation had been cleaned up? Not according the Labour MP Tom Watson who said, "No one was going to buy this paper anymore. No one was going to advertise in it. They destroyed this paper."
Now, I am admitting that I might have got information wrong or misread facts, but I am unsure on the whole situation. What News of the World did was completely wrong on every level - morally, ethically, emotionally, humanly - but the way the situation is being handle, you wonder what is happening behind the scenes that we aren't being told. Why is Rupert Murdoch trying so despairly to protect Rebekah Brooks, who had admitted in the past that in her time, she was aware the journalists paid member of the Police for information? If the Police knew or suspected this for quite some time (rumours say they knew about this since 2004), why didn't they do anything about it? Did the editors know about this and, if they did, why didn't they stop this from happening? Why didn't someone say "this is morally and ethically wrong and against the law"? There seem to be a lot of questions that haven't be answered or addressed and I think the families involved would like to know why, as do the honest employees of the News of the World who are going to lose their jobs over this.
It's just sad that a newspaper which has run for 168 years comes to a end in such disgrace.