THIS Sunday’s issue of the News of the World will be the last edition of the paper, News International chairman James Murdoch said.
The British tabloid is at the centre of a phone hacking scandal that could involve thousands of people.
“Having consulted senior colleagues, I have decided that we must take further decisive action with respect to the paper. This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World,” Mr Murdoch said in a statement on Thursday.
There has been public outrage over reports that relatives of dead soldiers may have had their phones hacked by Britain’s biggest-selling paper.
“Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper,” Mr Murdoch said.
“In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes.
“While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, 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.
“We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend.
“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.
“These are strong measures. They are made humbly and out of respect. I am convinced they are the right thing to do.”
Such has been the outcry over the phone hacking of everyday people during times of emotional turmoil that David Cameron’s government on Thursday postponed a decision on News Corp’s bid to purchase full control of BSkyB until September.
The shock development came as police said there could be as many as 4000 victims of phone hacking by the paper.
Mr Murdoch stunned the newsroom at the tabloid with his address, leaving reporters and production staff in shocked silence then tears.
He said the paper’s internal inquiry into earlier phone hacking claims was inadequate.
News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 after plotting to intercept voicemail messages left for royal aides.
Mr Murdoch accepted that the paper made statements to Parliament “without being in the full possession of the facts” and said he wrongly approved out-of-court settlements without having a “complete picture” of what had happened.
He went on: “The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account.
“But it failed when it came to itself.
“In 2006, the police focused their investigations on two men. Both went to jail.
“But the News of the World and News International failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose.
“Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued.
“As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter.
“We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences.
“This was not the only fault. The paper made statements to parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong.
“The company paid out-of-court settlements approved by me. I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so.
“This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret.”