Mr. Rupert Murdoch built an entire media empire on newspapers and now one of his leading and most popular British tabloids is facing a massive downfall. An electronic-eavesdropping scandal that started at Rupert Murdoch's Sunday tabloid, News of the World, is rapidly increasing into a full fledged blaze that threatens Murdoch, his global media empire, and the British government. This has already resulted in the arrest and resignation of several previously unaffected people. From allegations of listening in on the voicemails of the royal family to celebrities and then to hacking of phones of private citizens escalated into a threat to one of the world's most powerful media owner. He also faces police and government investigations into bribery and corruption in the UK.
In 1969, Rupert Murdoch, an Australian then bought ‘News of the world’ that was first published by John Browne Bell. This was Murdoch’s first step into Great Britain. He revamped ‘News of the World’ from a broadsheet to a tabloid format in 1984 and then in 1989 he hired Rebekah Wade as a secretary at ‘News of the World’. 11 years later, in 2000, Miss Wade was promoted to being the editor of ‘News of the World’, making her Great Britain’s youngest national newspaper editor at the age of 32.
In March 2002, Milly Dowler, a young girl at the age of 13, disappears on a walk home in a London suburb. Days later, a private investigator named Glenn Mulcaire, working for ‘News of the World’, allegedly started intercepting Dowler's cell phone voicemail messages, and began erasing them to make room for more. The deletion of messages gave Miss Dowler's family and the police false hope that the girl was still alive, until her remains were found in September 2002. Then in January 2003 Rebekah Wade became the editor of the News Corp. paper The Sun and Andrew Coulson, became editor of ‘News of the World’.
In March 2003, Wade told a committee of the lower house of Parliament that ‘News of the World’ had paid police officers for information. Then in November 2005, ‘News of the World’ published a story on Prince William's knee injury, with confidential information that led royal court officials to complain to police about intercepted voicemails. The police opened an investigation immediately and on the 8th of Auguts 2006, Mulcaire and ‘News of the World’ royal-family editor Clive Goodman were arrested for phone-hacking. Later on January 26th, 2007 Mulcaire and Goodman were jailed for six and four months, respectively for allegedly being part of the phone hacking. After being arrested Coulson resigned as editor of ‘News of the World’, claiming "ultimate responsibility" for the hacking, but denying any knowledge of it.
May 2007, News International lawyers concluded that there was"no evidence" that Coulson knew about Goodman's illegal activities. Inspite of all of this, Coulson was hired as the communications director for the Conservative Party and its leader, David Cameron. Somewhere in December 2007, James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, became the chief executive of News Corp.'s European and Asian operations. And then later in June 2009, Rebekah Wade was named the CEO of News International. In July 2009,
The Guardian reported that several ‘News of the World’ journalists had intercepted the voicemails of celebrities and politicians, with the knowledge of senior staff, and that its parent company had paid more than $1.6 million to settle phone-hacking cases. They also said that these series of events could have unearthed evidence of broader hacking at the paper. However, Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police Service of London said that it wasn’t reopening the case.
In February 2010, The House of Commons Culture, Media, and Sports Committee issued a mocking report saying it's "inconceivable" that ‘News of the World’ managers didn't know about the "near industrial scale" phone-hacking at the tabloid. In May 2010, David Cameron became the prime minister and hired Coulson as his media chief. Later that year in September 2010, The New York Times published a report, based on information from several former ‘News of the World’ reporters and editors, that Coulson knew about and regularly discussed phone-hacking with them during his tenure. The Times article was also critical of Scotland Yard's efforts to investigate the hacking. On the 21st of January 2011, Coulson resigned as David Cameron's communications chief. On January 26th 2011, Scotland Yard opened a new investigation of ‘News of the World’ phone-hacking, citing new evidence. Then in April 2011, recently fired ‘News of the World’ senior editor Ian Edmondson, chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and senior journalist James Weatherup were arrested on the basis of phone-hacking charges. The tabloid acknowledged its role in hacking from 2004 to 2006, apologized, and set up a compensation system for unidentified victims.
On the 23rd of June 2011, Levi Bellfield is convicted of the murder of Milly Dowler, after a tabloid-saturated trial. The Police then arrested freelance journalist Terenia Taras. On the 4th of July 2011, the scandal started in a deep and intense manner, after The guardian reported the hacking and erasing of Milly Dowler's voicemail messages. On July 5, 2011, the list of alleged targets of ‘News of the World’ hacking grew to include victims of the July 7, 2005, terrorist attack in London. The BBC reported that News International had turned over evidence that Coulson apparently signed off on paying police for information. On July 6, 2011 the ‘Daily Telegraph’ reported that ‘News of the World’ had hacked the phones of families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. To this Prime Minister David Cameron said that he was "revolted" by the allegations that were made. Then on the 7th of July 2011,
News International Chairman James Murdoch announced that ‘News of the World’ would be closing after a final edition on the 10th of July 2011.then on the 8th of July, 2011 Coulson and Goodman were arrested again, this time for bribing police officers.
Finally on the 10th of July 2011, the last ‘News of the World’ edition hit newsstands and Rupert Murdoch arrived in Britain to take charge of the mushrooming scandal. He told reporters that Rebekah Brooks is his "top priority."