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Main focus of Friday, July 8, 2011

Hacking scandal compromises Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch's US-based concern News Corp on Thursday announced the closure of the British tabloid News of the World. Journalists on the newspaper have been accused among other things of hacking into the telephones of the victims of abductions and terrorist attacks. Commentators believe the decision to close the Sunday paper is a calculated one but are sceptical that it will allow Murdoch to salvage his reputation.

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Media mogul in a tight spot

Despite closing down the tabloid News of the World owing to a phone-hacking scandal Rupert Murdoch has badly compromised his image, writes the liberal Tages-Anzeiger: "Murdoch's move won't win him ... many friends in the UK. The anger is growing rather than abating. Calls for resignations persist. Arrests, interrogations and painful inquiries are on the agenda. Even the doubts about Murdoch's character have increased. Prime Minister David Cameron, who would like to secure more influence for his benefactor, finds himself surrounded by hostile voters - and annoyed party liners. For the first time, politicians from all parties have dared to stand up to the much-feared tycoon in the House of Commons. This crisis has promoted a truly astounding new self-assurance - in the very city where Murdoch founded his global empire."   (08/07/2011)

La Stampa - Italy

Murdoch sacrifices scandal paper for pay TV

Rupert Murdoch's decision to close down the tabloid News of the World is driven purely by business-related motives, writes the liberal daily La Stampa: "Neither shame nor the desire to bring a little morality back into editorials prompted Murdoch to close the paper. The biggest publisher in the world is a merciless gambler willing to put all his eggs in one basket. His main goal right now is the complete takeover of the British Sky Broadcasting network. ...  There were already a few obstacles to the success of this operation even before the scandal, but now it would have become impossible. You don't hand control over a television broadcaster that can compete with the BBC to a publisher who can't even keep his own journalists and their unscrupulous methods in check." (08/07/2011)

The Guardian - United Kingdom

Publisher's clever move

The publisher of the tabloid The News of the World James Murdoch has announced that the paper will close next Sunday on account of the telephone-hacking scandal. A clever move by the son of the media magnate Rupert Murdoch, says the left-liberal daily The Guardian: The announcement was breathtaking in its implications. It was swift and brutal, it was both brilliant and cynical and it was focused on business expedience at a moment of deep crisis. ... James's Wapping moment sees him making a gesture he hopes will be grand enough to soften the focus of any phone-hacking inquiry, bold enough to allow the company to extricate itself from present trouble and, in the process, allow him to reshape News International around the digital television platforms he feels both more comfortable with and which are undoubtedly more profitable. (08/07/2011)

Trouw - Netherlands

Hacking scandal also a political issue

The scandalous practices of the tabloid News of the World highlight the entanglements between politics and the media, the Christian social daily Trouw believes: "It was already clear in 2005 how extensive phone-hacking practices were. But back then no serious attempts were made to intervene. ... This shows the powers of intimidation of these newspapers. British politicians - both Labour and now the Tories - try to woo them. ... Prime Minister Cameron didn't care. The claim by the ex-chief editor of the News of the World who was a friend of Cameron's that they didn't know about the hacking is completely implausible. Even the owner Rupert Murdoch now seems to have realised this. What is more, the evidence that the paper also paid the police for information not only undermines the integrity of British journalism but also that of the state authorities." (08/07/2011)

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