Thursday, July 07, 2011

News of the World is dead

The news is that the News of the World is going to close down, according to James Murdoch:

"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."

This is presumably to protect Murdoch's acquisition of BSKYB, so that should be where the pressure is applied next. The news organisation that owned NotW should not be allowed to own and operate a major television service in this country.

A few additional points. First, there is a rumour going round that this merely represents a rebranding exercise, and that the Murdoch empire had merely intended to rebrand NotW as the 'Sunday Sun'. This isn't plausible. First of all, the announcement cited from News International makes it clear that they intended to keep both papers. They are very different in content and style, and NotW had a much broader readership. In fact, NOTW was more widely read and bought than any other UK newspaper. That is a very profitable brand that Murdoch must have been very reluctant to give up. Second, I don't know what the NUJ will have to say about the journalists' jobs, but the present indications are that they will be re-employed within News International. I don't know how implicated journos at News of the World have been, but I would bet most of them are victims in this - in which case, they should be part of a drive by journalists to change the culture within News International completely. Third, there should be people behind bars over this. Those people shouldn't include Tommy Sheridan who, however reckless his initial decision to prosecute, was certainly done over by the combined efforts of News of the World and the police, whose cosy relationship is beginning to be disclosed. We should be pressing for a major investigation into police corruption, and for the prosecution of all involved in this scandal - hacks, cops, editors, owners, anyone else implicated.