LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation will close its tabloid News of the World after this Sunday’s edition, as a result of an escalating phone hacking scandal, James Murdoch said on Thursday.
Following are reactions to the news:
ZAC GOLDSMITH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, GOVERNING CONSERVATIVE PARTY
“It’s got to be a good day for Britain,” he told BBC Radio. “I think the News of the World as an organization is toxic on almost every level. I think the country after Sunday will be a better place. I think it’s an organization which has corrupted our political system, made it impossible for people to have faith in our police.”
“It’s very big and unexpected. But I’m not sure it’s going to solve the problem while the chief executive and ex-editor of the paper in some of its darkest days is still the chief executive of the company.”
CHARLIE BECKETT, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, POLIS THINK TANK AT THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS
“This is one of the most remarkable public relations moves of modern times. To close a massive profit-making business because it has become a reputational black hole is both bold and a gamble.
“It seems that News Corp have finally caught up with the public mood and are trying to get a grip on the narrative of this crisis. Yes, the advertising boycott meant that it would be worth less but no-one really thought that would be permanent.
“This is obviously a drastic attempt to show real contrition and clear the ethical decks. Of course, that’s scant consolation to anyone working there, but we won’t be surprised to see a Sunday Sun rise at some point.”
“Can you believe it? It’s amazing, isn’t it? I don’t see how this (BSkyB) deal can go ahead. It’s politically totally unacceptable now.”
“I don’t see how this deal can go ahead now. This is totally unprecedented. To me, it’s is an explicit admission of culpability.”
“It feels to me as though at the very least there must be an extensive period of reflection or delay whilst everybody calms down a bit. Worse case scenario, they have to walk away. Worse still, they have to sell their stake in Sky.
PROFESSOR IAN HARGREAVES, CARDIFF SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM, MEDIA AND CULTURAL STUDIES
“This is an astonishing and unprecedented act. It is appropriate to the moral horror that the owners of the newspaper faced, but it does not yet answer a number of questions.
“A thorough inquiry is still needed to ensure that we know the extent of these heinous acts. That must include asking the question whether other newspapers have been guilty of similar crimes.
“Killing the paper does not kill the story.”
ADRIAN SANDERS, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, THE GOVERNMENT’S JUNIOR COALITION PARTNER
“The cynic in me suggests that this is a ploy to take the pressure off the BSkyB merger and that when that is out of the way something will rise from the ashes.
“I hope I’m wrong but the track record of this company and those within it suggests that cynicism is the right response.
“When you do something as dramatic as this, the hope is that people will notice. It is a big gesture and most people will see the headline and think that something has happened — in that sense it will take the pressure off.”
MICHELLE STANISTREET, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS
“It’s comes as an incredible shock - the announcement James Murdoch should be making tonight is the dismissal of Rebekah Brooks.”
“It is the people at the top who need to be punished, not ordinary working journalists.”
“Our view is that this does not mean the News of the World will be closed. It will simply mean that there will be a seven day Sun. The stain on the brand was going to be permanent, and this is a perfectly sensible decision.”
STEVEN BARNETT, PROFESSOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, WESTMINSTER UNIVERSITY
“Astonishing. I’m completely gobsmacked. Talk about a nuclear option. You’ve got to feel sorry for the people who work on it. There are people who are going to lose their jobs.”
“It could just be a fairly cynical ploy and there will be a new News International Sunday newspaper. It could well be that three months down the line the scandal’s calmed down a bit and they launch a new Sunday tabloid.”
“It’s a lightning conductor.”
“It will certainly take the heat off some of the immediate allegations about journalistic behavior and phone hacking.”
“I suspect that they are fearing the worst in terms of more revelations coming out, and can now turn around and say: ‘What more can we do? We have cut this thing off at the roots.”
“Rebekah Brooks is still there and is still appointed by Rupert Murdoch to run the inquiry. That is still untenable. It’s important that we don’t get distracted by this announcement from asking some very serious questions.”
STEPHEN ADAMS, FUND MANAGER AT TOP 10 BSKYB SHAREHOLDER AEGON ASSET MANAGEMENT
“We see it (shutting down News of the World) as something to restore or remedy a tarnished reputation for the News Corp group. But we also critically see it as a reflection of New Corp’s desire to progress the BSkyB bid and have full ownership of the company.”
“I am very surprised at this, but I still don’t think it is enough for the Sky deal to get through. I think there will still have to be some scalps, including Rebekah Brooks. People are out for blood.”
TOM WATSON, OPPOSITION Labor MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
“Let’s be clear, it’s not Rupert Murdoch that has closed this paper, it is decent families up and down the country who have shown outrage at the revelations that have bombarded this company all week,” Watson told Sky News.
“This is a victory for decent people up and down the land and I say good riddance to the News of the World.”
Compiled by Paul Hoskins; reporting by Victoria Howley, Stefano Ambrogi, Keith Weir, Rosalba O'Brien, Matthew Falloon, Avril Ormsby, Mohammed Abbas, Tommy Wilkes and Georgina Prodhan; editing by Rosalba O'Brien