The News of the World may be closing down, but few in Britain believe it spells the end for the Murdoch tabloid style.
Some think it is a commercial decision by News International – to get rid of a brand tainted by the phone-hacking scandal, and create another new one in its place.
The former Labour deputy prime minister Lord Prescott believes the practices of the whole organisation – not only one newspaper – are questionable:
“Somehow they told us to begin with it was a rogue reporter. Now we know that’s not true, and now it’s a rogue paper, company… ‘News of the World! Get rid of it! Chop off the arm!’… As if there isn’t something rotten in the body and in the head. And that’s what Murdoch is about.”
Andreas Whittam Smith, the founder editor of The Independent, described the axing of the paper as an “extraordinary event”, and believes there is more to the decision than meets the eye.
“Whoever heard of a newspaper committing suicide? It just doesn’t happen, it hasn’t happened. They’re giving up a lot of revenue, they’re making a lot of people redundant – which they pay for – and they’re closing down a famous brand,” he said.
Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster predicted another newspaper would quickly appear:
“I suspect it will be in a matter of weeks, we’ll see a Sunday paper coming out from the (News International) stable, possibly called ‘The Sun on Sunday’ or ‘The Sunday Sun’,” he said.
However the scandal has focused attention on press ethics, and the relationship between the media, the government, and the police – accused of failing to investigate the hacking properly, and of being too close to the media.
euronews correspondent Ali Sheikholeslami said from outside News International headquarters:
“An astonishing conclusion to the phone-hacking saga, and for News International. The scandal-ridden News of the World, the newspaper with more than 150 years of history, will be gone for ever. What remains is hard questions for journalism, and for its relationship with the police.”