Friday 8 July 2011

Power, politics and the gutter press

The decision to close the UK's largest circulation Sunday newspaper is strange for a culture that believes yesterday's news is today's fish and chips wrapping paper.

Experts has opined that this was done to improve the chances that Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary would continue to support Mr. Murdoch's bid to buy the 61% he doesn't already own of Sky, the major player in satellite broadcasting.

Closure of the News of the World will not guarantee that. Public and advertiser's opinion will force the Conservative led government to be scrupulous in it's dealings with the empire of News International. This is particularly so, after their blunder in appointing Andy Coulson as press relations adviser. Andy had been in charge of editorship on the News of the World when so many of these alleged offences happened.

More other serious charges are that certain policemen of the Metropolitan force were paid, and some politicians were warned off with the implicit threat of exposure of their private peccadillos. It may be a co-incidence that one such person was subsequently outed as gay by the sister daily The Sun.

Criticism of Murdoch's mass market newspapers by the other red tops has been muted. It is highly probable that they were up to the same tricks as well.

This is one story that will not go away. The liberal quality newspaper the Guardian who led the chase to exposure will see to that. There will be more leaks that will make the top management squirm.

So if the closure does not enhance the possibility of success with the Sky purchase, why do it?

A cynical view is that this is simply a re-badging exercise. The News of the World is dead. Welcome the Sun on Sunday.

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