Engulfed in a phone hacking scandal, the UK’s best-selling newspaper, the News of the World, has been sensationally axed.
Media mogul Rupert Murduch shut the tabloid as allegations grew that reporters had hacked the voicemails of thousands of people, among them child murder victim Milly Dowler and the families of Britain’s war dead.
“I feel regret,” said his son, News International Chairman James Murdoch. “Clearly the practices of certain individuals did not live up to the standards and quality of journalism that we believe in and that I believe in and that this company believes in.”
Press reports said Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron’s former Communications Director, would be arrested today over the scandal. Coulson, an ex-News of the World editor, has always denied any knowledge of illegal telephone hacking at the tabloid, founded in 1843. This Sunday’s edition will be the last.
There is speculation the affair could threaten Rupert Murdoch’s hopes of buying out the 61 per cent of broadcaster BSkyB he does not already own. But analysts believe the chances of the deal being derailed are slim.