News of the World closure condemned
7 July 2011
James Murdoch has informed staff at the News of the World that the newspaper is being wound up. In a shock announcement this afternoon, he said that its last edition printed on Sunday.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary said:
"This shows the depths to which Rupert Murdoch and his lieutenants at News International are prepared to stoop. The announcement James Murdoch should be making today is the dismissal of Rebekah Brookes as chief executive of News International.
"The shocking revelations this week show beyond doubt the systemic abuse and corruption at the top of the operation ran by both Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. Yet News International has persistently lied about the extent of this scandal and tried to pass it off as a problem created by a couple of rogue reporters.
"Closing the title and sacking over 200 staff in the UK and Ireland, and putting scores more freelances and casuals out of a job, is an act of utter cynical opportunism. Murdoch is clearly banking on this drawing a line under the scandal, removing an obstacle to the BskyB deal, and letting his senior executives off the hook.
"That simply won't wash. It is not ordinary working journalists who have destroyed this paper's credibility – it is the actions of Murdoch's most senior people.
"James Murdoch was absolutely right when he said in his statement today that 'Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad.' Yet those wrongdoers are still there today, at the top of the News International empire and ordinary staff at the paper are paying with their livelihoods.
"The closure of the News of the World – a newspaper that has been in print now for 168 years – is a calculated sacrifice by Rupert Murdoch to salvage his reputation and that of News International, in the hope that readers will switch allegiance to a new seven-day operation at The Sun, the government will wave through the BskyB deal and he will widen his grip on the UK's media landscape.
"It is ironic that, 25 years after the Wapping dispute, it is the behaviour of Rupert Murdoch and his management that has caused the closure of the newspaper. The NUJ will offer all support to its members at the News of the World facing compulsory redundancies and will be organising an emergency meeting of all journalists at the title to offer advice and support."