Information about a phone hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. can be found daily in almost every newspaper in the country. News Corps., which owned the now defunct News International, is in trouble following public outrage that phones of everyday victims were tapped in order to obtain stories for the newspaper’s articles. It seemed at first that the phone hacking of News International was limited to members of the British Royal Family, celebrities, and politicians, but after further investigation, allegations came to show that the phones of everyday people were tapped. As a result of these accusations, many top officials surrounding News Corp. have been forced to resign. These officials include many of Britain’s highest-ranking police officials, including Sir Paul Stephenson, the highest-ranking police Commissioner in Britain. Assistant Commissioner John Yates resigned days later on July 18, 2011. The officials resigned because of Operation Elveden, which is an investigation in which the police were charged with taking inappropriate payments from those involved in the phone hacking. Allegations came to light after the Metropolitan Police received new information about phone hacking in January. Upon receipt of this information, the police launched another operation: Operation Weeting (Bryan-Low, “Scandal”).
Operation Weeting’s first arrest was of Neville Thurlbeck, News of the World’s chief reporter. James Weatherup, another reporter at the paper was arrested several days after Thurlbeck. Both men deny any involvement in phone hacking. As a result of Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police have obtained over 10,000 pages of evidence containing almost 10,000 phone numbers – both landline and cell numbers. Has a result of Operation Weeting, ten people have been arrested and countless others have been questioned. Murdoch, who has not been arrested, has been called to speak before a Home Affairs Committee hearing. Some of Murdoch’s highest-ranking executives have also resigned. Tom Crone, who was the legal manager of News International, has resigned along with Rebekah Brooks, who was chief executive from 2009 to 2011. Before becoming CEO in 2009, Brooks had been editor at News of the World since 2000. During this time, accusations surfaced that the voicemail of a murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, had been accessed by the newspaper. In 2003, Brooks had to appear before a parliamentary committee where she admitted that she had paid police for information surrounding the case. It was alleged that the newspaper had hired private investigators to break into Dowler’s voicemail. Not only were these private investigators accused of breaking into the voicemail; they were also accused of deleting messages. In deleting these messages, false hope was given to the girl’s family who hoped she might still be alive and was deleting the messages herself. Brooks denies any knowledge about phone hacking that happened while she was editor (Bryan-Low, “Scandal”).
Because of public opinion surrounding the paper, on July 10, 2011, News of the World closed its doors. It had been in business for 168 years. Advertisers had pulled ads and created an informal boycott of the paper. With no foreseeable recuperation of its advertisers, the paper had two choices: continue losing money or close its doors. This would mark the first significant consequence as a result of the scandal. Rupert Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corp., was quoted as saying “News of the World has been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. If recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company.” Other executives at News of the World believe that the phone hacking was more widespread than previously believed, and they expect more instances to surface as the investigation unfolds (Bryan-Low, “Grilled”).
Rupert and James Murdoch, along with Rebekah Brooks, were asked to appear before...
Cited: Bryan-Low, Cassell, Sara Schaefer Munoz, and Alistair MacDonald. “Scandal Grows at News Corp.” Wall Street Journal 18 Jul. 2011, central ed.: A1. Print.
Bryan-Low, Cassell, and Paul Sonne. “Murdochs Are Grilled.” Wall Street Journal 20 Jul. 2011, central ed.: A1. Print.
Costello, Thomas. "Rupert Murdoch Apology Letter." International Business Times. International Business Times, 15 Jul. 2011. Web. 22 Jul 2011.
MacDonald, Alistair, and Martin Peers. “Showdown Time Comes for Murdoch.” Wall Street Journal 19 Jul. 2011, central ed.: B1. Print.
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