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2011-07-07 - 18:19:00 - by AlisonW - Topic: Meta: Ethics | Law |

At first sight, the "closure" of the News of the World sounds like a good thing for public opinion and a bad thing for the Murdoch empire (ie " News International" for UK purposes) but it is worth a closer look at this attempt by a leopard to change its spots.

First up, although the vast majority of the staff at NoTW have been fired, Rebekah Brooks - former editor and now boss at NI - is still safely in her post because Murdoch Jnr appears to think she has nothing to answer for. Clearly just about everyone else in the UK media and MPs in parliament believe she does, so maybe Rebakah has something on Junior, or Daddy, or Cameron, or Blair, or the lot of them? She clearly knows where some very large and noisy bodies are buried. (Literally?)

Then, we are given to understand that the other main redtop in their stable - The Sun - has been planning to launch a Sunday edition for some months (the domain registration might be real but the timing and registrar used make me feel it is more likely to be a squatting attempt)

A more important consideration is that of money. Murdoch likes money, as it lets him buy up media - television included - around the world. The NoTW though has been a cash cow and helped him not only finance Sky but also cross-financed The Times and his 'quality' press. Without that income stream will he cover the costs of the loss-making Times? Might he (whisper it quietly) decide that the time for physical newspapers has been and gone and sell it off and get out of the print business entirely? It would certainly make financial sense.

We are all, of course, also waiting to see what happens in the final stage of the 'Cable shooting for Murdoch' saga as Jeremy Hunt looks still likely to push his palls take-over of British Sky Broadcasting through. He is alleging that the "fit and proper person" test was part of the initial decision some months ago and that subsequent events cannot change that earlier decision; that he can solely act upon the variety of outlets issue.

The Guardian has stated that the Police will be arresting former NoTW editor Andy Coulson tomorrow morning, which has made me wonder whether the delay is so they can complete the change in the bail laws today before taking him in.

And let us not forget that it isn't only the NoTW that stands accused of this unacceptable behaviour. The Daily Mail group also have questions to answer.



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