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Date:08/07/11

Phone hacking and online campaign bring down the News of the World

News International has announced the closure of Britain's oldest and highest circulation newspaper, following voicemail hacking by journalists and an online campaign that saw advertisers shunning the title. Chairman James Murdoch issued a statement saying that this weekend's issue of the News of the World will be the last in its 168-year history, and all profits from the issue will go to charity."The good things the News of the World does have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company," said Murdoch.
"The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself."The scandal which brought down the paper centred on phone hacking, where journalists hired private investigators to break into the voicemail systems of targets and retrieve messages. It is thought access was obtained by using the factory defaults unchanged by the user or by guessing passcodes.
Initially, the practice was thought to be confined to the paper's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, both of whom were jailed for hacking the phones of members of the royal family.But since that initial case there has been a slow drip feed of allegations that have caused News International to make payoffs of up to £1m to hacking victims in order to avoid court cases.Further revelations this week have shown that the practice was widespread, with as many as 4,000 people having their handsets hacked, including the parents of murder victims and the families of dead soldiers, as well as public figures and celebrities.This caused some to set up online campaigns to protest about the paper, and to urge advertisers to boycott the title.A News of the World advertisers list was set up online, with the names and addresses of the heads of companies involved, and emails started to flood in urging a boycott.
Ford was the first big name to announce it was reviewing its advertising and was joined by a flood of other companies responding to online pressure.While the paper will close, it is widely expected that it will reappear as a Sunday edition of News International's daily title The Sun. The thesunonsunday.co.uk address was registered on Tuesday and the company has already talked about such a move publically.Some have speculated that it was News International's intent all along to merge the two and that the media giant had only been prevented from doing so by widespread staff dissent.



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