Tabloid Trouble in the UK
The British tabloid News of the World was no stranger to scandal. Over the years, a number of its journalists were arrested for hacking into the voicemails of politicians, celebrities, sports figures and royal aides, but recent allegations about hacking into the voicemail of an abducted teenage girl led to its demise.
The case involved 13-year-old Milly Dowler, who went missing in 2002 and was murdered by a nightclub doorman. The newspaper was accused of deleting several messages on her cellphone, giving her parents false hope that she was alive and potentially damaging the police effort to find her.
Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced that family members of British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan may have had their phones hacked by the UK tabloid. Further allegations were made that the tabloid had bribed police officers for tips, and hired purported criminals to illegally obtain information about public figures.
As the phone hacking scandal widened and deepened, police began a new investigation into the tabloid's activities, and politicians demanded accountability. Under mounting pressure, the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper decided to cease publication on Sunday, July 10. The following day, British Prime Minister David Cameron's former communications director Andy Coulson, who was at one time the editor of News of the World, was arrested. At issue is whether he was aware of or authorized phone hacking or the bribing of police officers during his term as editor from 2003 to 2007.
Prime Minister Cameron has appointed a senior judge to lead an inquiry into the phone hacking and police bribery scandal engulfing Murdoch's British newspapers. Political and public condemnation of the company has forced media mogul Murdoch to withdraw his bid to purchase British broadcasting behemoth BSkyB, and forced the resignation of News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, who was later arrested and questioned by London police. Two high-ranking police officers have resigned over their connections to the scandal. Meanwhile, Murdoch has offered a public apology to the phone hacking victims.
Late Monday, July 18, former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare, who was the first to blow the whistle on phone-hacking at the tabloid newspaper, was found dead.
On Tuesday, July both Rupert Murdoch and his son James, as well as Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, testified before a parliamentary hearing into the phone hacking scandal. Wednesday saw British Prime Minister David Cameron questioned in Parliament about the scandal, and specifically about his decision to hire former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications chief.
For the latest news on this developing story, please visit cbcnews.ca/world.