Wednesday, February 21, 2024

British Sunday tabloid News of the World shut down over phone hacking row


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‘We recorded history, we made history’

London: The News of the World, a Sunday tabloid that peppered its pages with sex and sensationalism for nearly 168 years, said in its final editorial: “We lived through history, we recorded history and we made history.”

The tabloid is accused of hacking into phones of crime victims, celebrities and politicians, and police identified 4,000 possible targets, leading to owner Rupert Murdoch ordering its closure.

In the editorial for its final issue July 10, the newspaper said: “… most of all, on this historic day, after 8,674 editions, we’ll miss YOU, our 7.5 million readers.”

“We lived through history, we recorded history and we made history — from the romance of our old hot-metal presses right through to the revolution of the digital age,” it proudly says.

“You’ve been our life. We’ve made you laugh, made you cry, made your jaw drop in amazement, informed you, enthralled you and enraged you.”

“You have been our family, and for years we have been yours, visiting every weekend. Thank you for your support. We’ll miss you more than words can express.”

British author George Orwell wrote in 1946: It is Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war. The wife is already asleep in the armchair, and the children have been sent out for a nice long walk. You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose and open the News of the World.

The editorial, however, says these may have been the “sentiments of most of the nation for well over a century and a half as this astonishing paper became part of the fabric of Britain”.

The first edition that came out Sunday, Oct 1, 1843, advertised itself as “the novelty of nations and the wonder of the world… as worthy of the mansion as the cottage”.

The tabloid claimed to have showered praises on A Christmas Carol — a “new novel” in 1843 by Charles Dickens.

It also published many important news all these years, including the sinking of the Titanic, two world wars, the first man on the moon and the death of Diana.

“But we touched people’s lives most directly through our campaigns,” it said.

“… we crusaded against child labour… we delivered toys to the children of every serviceman and woman in Afghanistan… we forced computer giants to police their sites to protect children.”

But it lamented the downfall of its standards.

“We praised high standards, we demanded high standards but, as we are now only too painfully aware, for a period of a few years up to 2006 some who worked for us, or in our name, fell shamefully short of those standards.”

“Quite simply, we lost our way.”

“Phones were hacked, and for that this newspaper is truly sorry. There is no justification for this appalling wrong-doing.”

It said there was “no justification for the pain caused to victims, nor for the deep stain it has left on a great history”.

However, it hoped that history would eventually judge the paper on all its years. (IANS)


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