Sunday newspaper the News of the World (NOTW) will publish its final edition this weekend and cease to exist from next week, it has been announced this afternoon.
Parent company News International opted to take this extraordinary measure in the face of the backlash from both businesses and members of the public in reaction to widespread allegations of phone hacking that emerged over the last few days.
Reports indicated that journalists associated with the newspaper hacked into phones of crime victims such as Milly Dowler and a parent of one of the Soham murder victims, potentially disrupting police investigations into these incidents.
Major retailers such as Sainsbury’s and The Co-operative were quick to pull advertising in the NOTW, while others in the industry followed suit today, adding to other boycotts from organisations such as Ford and Halifax.
James Murdoch, son of the Chairman of New International, told staff today: “The good things the NOTW does … have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company.
“The NOTW is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.”
Hours before the newspaper closed down, health & beauty trader Boots & electricals specialist Dixons added their names to the list of companies removing advertising.
“In response to the increasing concerns of our customers Dixons Retail would like to clarify that it will not be advertising in the NOTW until further notice,” a spokesman from Dixons said.
The UK’s number one grocer Tesco did not officially join the boycott, but released a statement on the subject this afternoon.
“We share the very wide concern of our customers about these allegations, and the great distress they have caused to the families involved,” the supermarket commented.
“Some people have asked what action Tesco will take. We sympathise with their concern and understand their impatience. But we believe the absolute priority now is for the allegations to be investigated thoroughly and properly.”
It called for people’s focus to be on the police investigation and on the public inquiries being “considered urgently by the government”.
Businesses will no longer need to make the decision about advertising in the NOTW as the newspaper’s final ever edition this Sunday will run without ads.