The phone-tapping allegations
Thursday's dramatic announcement that the 168-year-old tabloid would now be shut down followed accusations the paper had illegally eavesdropped on the phone messages of murder and terror victims, politicians and celebrities.
There is no evidence — or claims — that the same methods have been employed by other titles within Murdoch's News Corporation group — which includes the New York Post and Wall Street Journal in the U.S. and The Australian and The Daily Telegraph in Australia.
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However it is not beyond the realms of possibility, according to David McKnight, Senior Research Fellow at the Journalism and Media Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, who has written extensively about News Corporation.
"News of the World is not an island," he said. "News Corp has a very distinctive internal culture. They see themselves as an isolated band of crusaders putting the world right."
This pursuit of a goal at all costs, said McKnight, reflects the personality of Murdoch himself. "He sees himself as a rebel and a contrarian, someone who stands up for the little people against the liberal elite.
"So when senior editors and journalists circulate within corporations such as News Corp, it is feasible that these practices go with them, popping up elsewhere."
But this scenario was quickly dismissed by John Hartigan, CEO of News Limited — the Australian arm of News Corporation which owns 70% of the country's newspapers. He issued a statement Friday saying events at News of the World "do not reflect what News International is about," and that the phone-tapping revelations are a "terrible slur on our craft."
He then referred to the News Limited code of professional conduct, which "is the guiding principle to everything we do."
On Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch himself called the allegations against the paper "deplorable and unacceptable" and his son, News International Chairman James Murdoch, in announcing the shutdown of News of the World on Thursday said that the scandal "sullied" the newspaper and has "no place in our company."
Whether any of Murdoch's titles have ever indulged in the darker journalistic arts or not, Margaret Simons, a prominent commentator on Australia's media, says the News of the World revelations will give News Corporation some unwanted publicity at a time when Sky News, which it part-owns, is bidding for the Australia Network — a free-to-air international broadcasting service serving 44 countries — from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).