Britain’s News Of The World was launched in 1843 and will close this Sunday as public revulsion over the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid’s phone-hacking scandal threatened News Corp itself. Deputy COO James Murdoch admitted today that the company misrepresented the extent of the company’s cell phone hacking and made statements to Parliament “without being in the full possession of the facts.” He also authorized out-of-court settlements even though “I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so.” He says the company is cooperating with police investigations and has admitted liability in some civil cases. “We have made mistakes,” he says, adding that “we are doing our utmost to fix them, atone for them, and make sure they never happen again.”
News Of The World has long dealt with allegations that it hired people to hack into celebrities’ cell phones and monitor their voicemails. The tipping point for government officials, advertisers and investors came this week with the disclosure that the paper in 2002 had hacked the phone of a girl who had been murdered, and deleted messages that the police might have used to solve the crime.
Here’s today’s stunning announcement:
Making the announcement to staff, James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation, and Chairman, News International said:
“I have important things to say about the News of the World and the steps we are taking to address the very serious problems that have occurred.
It is only right that you as colleagues at News International are first to hear what I have to say and that you hear it directly from me. So thank you very much for coming here and listening.
You do not need to be told that The News of the World is 168 years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain’s largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation.
When I tell people why I am proud to be part of News Corporation, I say that our commitment to journalism and a free press is one of the things that sets us apart. Your work is a credit to this.
The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company. (more…)