News of the World to Close – Who will be affected most?

News International (NI) Chairman James Murdoch declared today that News of the World (NoW) is to close and 10th July’s edition will be its last.  This decision has apparently been taken as a result of the phone hacking scandal.

Let’s pause and think for a minute.  Who will be affected by this closure?  Will it be a big blow to News International?  Will its profits be affected?  Was the decision taken because all of a sudden the media superpower has been overwhelmed by the atrocious behavior of its subsidiary?

It’s clear that while the scandal is an embarrassment to NI, it’s profits are not going to be affected much.  Why?  Here’s the logic behind it.  The Sun, another tabloid, another subsidiary of NI, is currently released from Mon to Sat, but not on Sunday, when NoW used to get released.  By just starting another edition of The Sun on Sunday in coming weeks, NI will easily be able to re-capture its lost market, advertisements and profits.  How difficult is it to start the Sunday edition, when it’s sister concern is not there to fight for the daily market share?  What other best way to forget the embarrassment faced by the organization than to cease the name of NoW altogether?  General public will forget all this in a couple of weeks, as media will bring something else for them to worry, frustrate and shout about.

Coming back to the first question; who is affected by the closure of NoW?  The management who approved the phone hacking?  No Sir, they have already been shifted to more glorious, even higher positions that might pay heavier pay slips.  Is it the readers of NoW?  They may have to wait just for a few weeks – The Sun will rise with all its glory on Sunday.  Have no doubt:

Those who will really get affected are the workers of News of the World.

While the bigger organization might need a few additional hands on other areas of business, including at The Sun to release an extra edition, a number of these workers may have to look for new jobs – in this current time of austerity and high unemployment.

What an irony!  Most of workers were not part of the hacking decision – even the world came to know about it very lately.  But the most disastrous impact is still on workers!

Why is it that even if mistakes are done by higher echelon’s, workers have to suffer the brunt?  Who will fight for their rights to have a decent job?  Who will make their voices heard?

It’s too early to predict or comment on anything, but …..


Voicemail scandal and question of morality in our times….

UK media is full of the voicemail scandal in last couple of days.  It is alleged that voicemail of  Milly Dowler was hacked in to by a private investigator working for News of the World, back in March 2002 when she was reported missing.  [Milly’s body was found later in 2002, and in June 2011, Levi Bellfield was found guilty and sentenced to life prison.]

The issue of voicemail scandal raise questions on many levels.  I am concerned more on the moral grounds.   The sheer thought of someone knowingly hacked in to voicemail of a missing, probably abducted/murdered 13-year-old, just to make few column headlines in their tabloid is shocking.  Surely, someone high enough in News of the World hierarchy would’ve approved and agreed this to go-ahead?  They were not even concerned that this could have an adverse effect on the search for the missing girl.  What does that say about the journalistic ethics of News of the World?  How much low can these multi-national news corporates stoop down  to sell few additional copies of their tabloid?  No one thinks this is an isolated incident – it is just the tip of an ugly huge iceberg.  Media has already reported that phone hacking might have happened in Holly Wells /Jessica Chapman case, and also in case of 7/7 London terror victims.  

It is very welcome that a number of businesses, including Ford, have already withdrawn advertising from News of the World.  Public enquiry promised by David Cameron too is welcomed.  The enquiry should not only look in to the voicemail hacking and how the investigator got hold of the mobile number, but also into morality of two greate professions – Journalism and Police.  Strong allegations that “rough” police officers are ready to do anything for money is an absolute disgrace.  Justice delayed is justice denied.  Whether the public enquiry costs a lot of money and/or time, government should go ahead with it as early as possible – as no one can put a price on society’s morality and victim’s/relative’s sentiments.  No one can put a price on the trust and expectations we have on our media and police.  As always, just a few journalists/ police officers are ruining the reputation of whole of  their respective professions.  The corrupt should be brought to daylight and severely punished.   

What we should read along with this is the possible takeover of BSkyB by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which News of the World is part of.  While it could be argued that these two are separate incidents, how can we be sure that the News giant has separate rules/morals for different wings of their empire?  The way senior executives are transferred (Rebekah Brooks under whose tenure the phone hacking happened is now the Chief Executive of News International)  between these subsidiaries , how easy is it for News Corp to prove that the hands of its executives are clean and ethics are undiluted?