For decades his papers did the hounding. Now Rupert Murdoch’s on the receiving end – and the phone hacking scandal is not expected to end with his company News Corp’s decision to drop its bid for British satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
The withdrawal represents a significant shift in the balance of power.
Politicians who have long felt the need to appease the media tycoon welcomed the move.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“I think this is the right decision, but also the right decision for the country too. But we now have got to get on with the work of the police investigation and the public inquiry that I’ve set up today.”
Between them, those inquiries will examine practices at the News of the World and media regulation.
In the UK parliament a motion calling on Murdoch to abandon his bid for the satellite broadcaster was approved without a vote.
“This is a victory for people up and down this country who have been appalled by the revelations about phone hacking, who have thought it’s beyond belief that Mr Murdoch could, when this criminal investigation is going on, expand its stake in the British media,” said Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader.
The public inquiry will begin soon; the police investigation is already underway.
But the spotlight is likely to shift beyond the Murdoch empire – to wider questions concerning the press and its relations with politicians and the police.
euronews correspondent Ali Sheikholeslami said from Downing Street:
“The News Corporation’s takeover bid of BSkyB is buried. It is a massive setback for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, but campaigners here in Downing Street will not be happy until they have seen results of a thorough inquiry into unethical practices in British journalism. It’s a bad day for News Corporation, but worse days could be ahead.”