It has been a week of jaw dropping revelations from The News of the World and the alleged phone hacking scandal. Ironically, the paper which broke news on a weekly basis, became the story. But it is no more. A few hours ago, News International issued a statement, closing the 168 year old paper for good. And while Rebekah Brooks manages to keep her job, the 200 or so employees at the red top now find themselves jobless. The Sub-Editors at the sister paper, The Sun have walked out in protest.
The world was ambivalent when it emerged the paper had been hacking into the phones of the celebrities including Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, who accepted £10, 000 of damages last month. But the paper sank to an all time low when the Guardian discovered that News of the World journalists paid a private investigator to hack into the voicemail of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who then deleted messages.
It was this that sparked outrage on the social media site, Twitter. Incensed, Melissa Harrison set about targeting the paper where it hurt – advertisers. The pressure was mounting, and one by one companies such as Ford, Sainsbury’s and Halifax bowed to public pressure who said they wouldn’t advertise in this Sunday’s edition. Only Mumsnet pulled out of their Sky campaign in protest.
Over the last few days, it has emerged that victims of the London 7/7 bombings, dead soldiers and 4,000 possible victims were involved in the phone hacking affair.
Tomorrow Andy Coulson – who was the head of communications to PM David Cameron – will be arrested over the phone hacking row. The paper may cease to exist, but the allegations will rumble on for a very long time. It has involved the highest echelon in politics, the police and the Murdoch empire. It is an interesting time for journalism and British democracy as a whole.