Sunday, 10 July 2011

News Of The World – Workers Lose Their Jobs, Murdoch keeps His Profits

Very few progressives will mourn the passing of the ‘News Of  The World’.  When Rupert Murdoch’s son, James, announced that the paper was to cease publication many cheered.  Revelations over the past few days about the extent to which private investigators and some journalists and executives completely disregarded common human decency in their scramble for profits had exposed the tabloid as scurrilous and without shame.


But progressives should be asking ourselves a very important question - who will pay the price of the closure?  Many of the workers – journalists and others - who have lost their jobs at the News Of The World had no hand, act or part in the actions of those who thought it was ok to tap the phone records of murder victims and others in the pursuit of a story.  It is estimated that over 200 people may lose their jobs, many of whom didn’t even work there when the phone tapping scandal was at its height.

But News International’s chief executive, Rebekah Brooks – confidant of British prime Minister David Cameron – who was editor of News Of the World at the time of the phone hacking keeps her job.  James Murdoch keeps his position having expressed full confidence in Brooks.  And News International, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, retain the huge profits they have made over the years of the phone hacking.

In the year up to June 2010 turnover at News Group Newspapers Ltd, the Murdoch company that publishes News Of The World and The Sun recorded pre-tax profits of £88m on a turnover of £654m.  So when James Murdoch in his announcement of the closure stated that  “the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations - many of whom are long-term friends and partners - that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity” and that “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”, this is far from the “strong measures” he claims them to be.  It is nothing other than a manipulative attempt to attempt to salvage some good publicity.

Murdoch’s true ‘charity’ is shown when the cynicism with which the News Of The World staff were told they were losing their jobs and the haste with which they were then told that they will receive the legal minimum 90 day redundancy payment is considered.

But then what else could be expected of such an anti-union, anti-workers’ rights employer!

WORDS: Gregor Kerr WSM