News Corporation’s hacking humiliation forces the world to re-think at journalistic ethics.
By: Anna Marszalek, Section Editor
News of the World, Britain’s best-selling Sunday newspaper, put an end to 168 years of loyal readership on July 10, 2011. The popular tabloid, which sold 2.6 million copies a week, was one of several media outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, the world’s second-largest media firm. Murdoch’s power at News Corp. is shared with his son James, who had informed the newspaper’s 200 employees that there were to be no further publications. The front cover of the final issue read a simple “Thank you & Goodbye.”
Murdoch Sr. and Murdoch Jr. denied the allegations when brought to court.
What prompted News of the World’s final goodbye were the increasingly serious allegations regarding its unethical journalistic practices. Good journalism means getting to the bottom of a story and uncovering the truth beneath the rubbish, but there is a moral line that should never be crossed in these matters. News of the World crossed that line when some of its staff decided to seek information by hacking the phone messages of fallen British soldiers and murder victims.
The public was shocked when they learned that journalists at the newspaper hired private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack into the voicemail messages left on the phone of 2002 teenage murder victim Milly Dowler.
Mulcaire’s work for News of the World also involved the pursuit of unauthorized information about survivors of the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London and family members of deceased British troops who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Though Murdoch Sr. and Murdoch Jr. denied the allegations when brought to court, there was iron clad proof against both them and the unscrupulous journalists and editors of News of the World. This scandal has sparked wider investigations into other media outlets owned by News Corp. The incident has also encouraged a global conversation about what it means to be a journalist in pursuit of the truth.
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