News of the World Shuts Down

 Chris Jackson/Getty

News of the World will cease to exist after July 10.

Amidst a widespread wiretapping scandal that reportedly involves high-profile victims like Prince William, Prince Harry, Heather Mills, Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Sienna Miller and others, James Murdoch, chairman of News International, broke the news to his staff Thursday.

"I have important things to say about the News of the World and the steps we are taking to address the very serious problems that have occurred," Murdoch said (via the BBC). "The good things the News of the World does have been sullied by behavior that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company."

It's estimated there are around 4,000 victims of the phone hacking scandal. As of today, News of the World is the largest-selling English language newspaper in the world.

"News of the World is in the business of holding others to account," Murdoch said. "But it failed when it came to itself.

In 2006, two journalists went to jail after they hired private investigators to illegally gain access to hundreds of mobile voicemail accounts. "News of the World and News International failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose," Murdoch said. "Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued."

"As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter. We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences."

News International will continue to comply with two major and ongoing police investigations. "We have also admitted liability in civil cases," Murdoch, 38, added. "Already, we have settled a number of prominent cases and set up a Compensation Scheme, with cases to be adjudicated by former High Court judge Sir Charles Gray."

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"Apologizing and making amends is the right thing to do. Inside the company, we set up a Management and Standards Committee that is working on these issues and that has hired [the law firm] Olswang to examine past failings and recommend systems and practices that over time should become standards for the industry."

Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper, on stands Sunday. Murdoch also announced that revenue earned from this weekend's sales will go to various organizations, "many of whom are long-term friends and partners, that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity."

Additionally, the paper will run no commercial advertisements over the weekend. "Any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers," Murdoch said.

"These are strong measures. They are made humbly and out of respect. I am convinced they are the right thing to do," Murdoch said. "I want all journalism at News International to be beyond reproach. I insist that this organization lives up to the standard of behavior we expect of others. And, finally, I want you all to know that it is critical that the integrity of every journalist who has played fairly is restored."

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