GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – You can close down a newspaper but you can’t put it out to pasture completely, it seems, with the news world’s ethics debates still raging four months after the demise of The News of the World in Britain.
On the one hand, the newspaper was praised by media and the judge alike in last week’s cricket-fixing scam trial, which sent three top international players to prison. The newspaper had uncovered the scam by sending an undercover agent to meet with members of Pakistan’s team and their agent.
And on the other hand, there is outrage over the cushy settlement given by its owner, the Murdochs, to Rebekah Brooks, the Rupert Murdoch protege who ultimately landed the top editorial job at the newspaper and served as a director on several boards with links to it. The Guardian’s Observer reports that she was given a £1.7 million payoff and the use of an upscale office and chauffeured limosine for two years. Brooks was fired over the ongoing scandal involving newspapers and illegal phone hacking in Britain.
Investigators are also looking into payouts by newspapers to police officers. A journalist with the Sun was arrested at his home 6 November, with Business Week calling it “a development that spreads the taint of scandal to the country’s biggest-selling newspaper. UK broadcasters and newspapers identified the journalist as award-winning editor Jamie Pyatt, whose name appeared on one of The Sun’s most sensational scoops — a story with a photograph showing Prince Harry attending a costume party dressed in Nazi garb.” Pyatt’s name has been mentioned by UK media but not confirmed by his employer, Mudoch-owned News International, nor by the police.
The Guardian reports that James Murdoch, who will appear before the House of Commons for a second time, Thursday 10 November, is “likely to be questioned about previous claims that illegal practices did not take place at the Sun newspaper, where Brooks was editor between 2003 and 2009 before being elevated to the role of chief executive of News International”. The newspaper reports that Pyatt worked under Brooks while she was editor of the Sun.