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News of the World shuts down

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Sunday tabloid The News of the World has closed following a sensational phone hacking scandal that has engulfed the newspaper in the past week.

James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, The News of the World's parent group, announced the move in a statement last Thursday (7 July), saying that Sunday's issue (10 July) of the newspaper would be the last.

"The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself," he said. "This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World."

Murdoch noted that "all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes" and ad space will be donated to charities "to expose their good works to our millions of readers."

The announcement is the culmination of an extraordinary week for The News of the World, after it was alleged that the paper hired private investigators to hack into the phones of a number of murder victims and their families, including schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002 and family members of victims of the July 7, 2005, London bombings.

Politicians and commentators reacted with outrage, with many calling for the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, who was editor of News Of The World during the time of some of the hacking allegations - and is now chief executive of News International.

Advertisers also reacted with concern, with Ford, Halifax Bank and Virgin Holidays among those who withdrew their promotions from the paper.

However, Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, stood by Brooks in a statement on Thursday, saying she would remain at the helm of News International. Metropolitan police continue to sift through 11,000 pages of evidence relating to the scandal.

News of the World is something of an institution in British culture and James Murdoch paid tribute to the publication in his statement today, saying: "You do not need to be told that The News of the World is 168 years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain’s largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation."

Murdoch did not mince his words when it came to the nature of the allegations, saying that if proved to be true, they demonstrated "inhuman" behaviour at the paper at the time those stories were published.

He paid tribute to employees at the paper, especially those not working at the times of the alleged hacking incidents saying that they "may see these changes as a price loyal staff at the News of the World are paying for the transgressions of others".

Labour MP Tom Watson welcomed today's decision, saying: "No one was going to buy this paper any more. No one was going to advertise in it. They destroyed this paper."

What do you think? Was closure of News of the World a necessary step and will that spell the end of the scandal in terms of media coverage for now? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments section, below.

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