11 Jul 2011

Final News of the World edition on sale

6:03 am on 11 July 2011

In Britain, the final edition of Britain's top-selling Sunday newspaper the News of the World has gone on sale.

Owners News International announced last week it was shutting down the paper after 168 years.

News International judged it to have been "irrevocably tainted" by a police investigation into reports that thousands of people, including murder victims and the families of soldiers killed in Iraq, had their phones hacked by the paper.

The headline on the last edition read "Thank You & Goodbye".

The words were emblazoned on a montage of some of the tabloid's most famous front pages over the years.

With the last edition now published, the newspaper's 260 staff are now without jobs.

Police say the News of the World could have hacked into the mobile phones of up to 4000 people.

There have also been allegations of corruption for making payments to police officers.

Andy Coulson, the former editor, who later worked as the government communications chief, was arrested on Friday and interviewed over the claims.

However, Mr Coulson has denied any knowledge of phone hacking while he was editor.

Front page kept top secret

The contents of the final front page was kept a closely guarded secret until the paper appeared on the street.

The last edition was also notable in that it did not contain any advertising.

An extra two million copies were printed to cope with anticipated demand for a piece of newspaper history.

Proceeds from the sale of the paper are going to charity.

Meanwhile, media mogul Rupert Murdoch is going to London to take charge of dealing with the phone-hacking crisis that has engulfed his News International group.

Prime Minister David Cameron says there will be a judicial inquiry into what he calls the abysmal failure of an earlier police investigation.

The paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman was released on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of corruption. He was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking.

And on Saturday, an unnamed 63-year-old became the third man arrested as part of the police probe.

Press overhaul

Media regulation is to be overhauled as part of the British government's response to the scandal.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says the Press Complaints Commission is busted and needs to be replaced.

The News of the World which first appeared in 1843, was bought by News International's parent company, News Corporation in 1969.

It was the biggest selling paper in Britain with 2.6 million copies per week, although in the 1950s it regularly sold more than 8 million copies.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents confirmed it expected the final News of the World to sell "extremely well" on Sunday, with people buying it as a collector's item.

Mahendra Jadeja, who runs a newsagent in London, said he had been taken aback by the change of sentiment towards the paper.

"I was planning for sales to be 20-30% down on normal levels, now, I have had so many orders I can hardly believe it. Some people have asked for multiple copies.

"A few have even paid in advance."

Other Sunday newspapers, including the Mail on Sunday, the second-biggest selling Sunday paper, and the Sunday Mirror, are expecting a boost in sales.