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July 09, 2011  | by: Svenja van den Woldenberg

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, 80-year-old Australian-American media mogul, announced on Thursday the closing of News of the World, a racy British tabloid owned by News Corp’s News International, after admitting to a phone-hacking scandal.

The 168-year-old paper admitted to hiring what they termed “investigators” who hacked voicemails and phone accounts of celebrities, apparently including the Royal Family, politicians and ordinary citizens, reportedly targeting families of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, victim’s of the 2005 subway bombing and 13-year-old Milly Dowler who was killed in 2002.

There is no evidence that Murdoch was either aware or involved in the illegal activities News of the World was engaged in, but the scandal has threatened his solid hold over British media and damaged his reputation with his U.S. properties including Fox TV Network, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and 20th Century Fox movie studios. Also in jeopardy is News Corp’s bid to buy the rest of British Sky Broadcasting, approximately a $12-$13 million deal. News Corps. currently owns 39% of British Sky Broadcasting.

Ending the era of News of the World may also be an attempt to save Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, the parent company of News of the World. Brooks was the editor of News of the World in 2003 when the voicemail of 13-year-old Dowler was hacked and a message was deleted off her phone, giving her family false hope that she was still alive. Both Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch, who is a favorite to take over News Corp. after his father, have defended Brooks. “I am satisfied in her leadership, that her standard of ethics, standard of conduct is very good,” James Murdoch told BBC News.

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