Timeline of British newspaper industry crisis

27th November 2012, Comments 0 comments

The Leveson inquiry will give its verdict on Thursday on the British newspaper industry after the phone-hacking scandal that killed off one tabloid and resulted in a string of criminal charges.

Here are the key events:


- January 26: The royal editor of the News of the World, Clive Goodman, and private detective Glenn Mulcaire are jailed after they admit hacking the phones of royal aides.


- January 21: Andy Coulson, who quit as editor of the News of the World when Goodman was jailed, resigns as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief amid new claims about hacking at the tabloid.

- January 26: Scotland Yard re-opens investigation into phone hacking.

- April 8: News International offers "unreserved apology" for phone hacking and sets up compensation fund, with actress Sienna Miller, Jude Law's ex-girlfriend, among those receiving payouts.

- July 4: Milly Dowler, a schoolgirl murdered in 2002, is revealed as one of the hacking victims, causing public outrage.

- July 6: Cameron announces a public inquiry into the way the press operates, led by former judge Brian Leveson.

- July 7: Rupert Murdoch shuts the News of the World. The Sunday tabloid had been operating for 168 years.

- July 13: Murdoch's News Corp. withdraws its bid for full ownership of pay-TV giant BSkyB.

- July 15: Rebekah Brooks, who edited the News of the World when Milly Dowler's phone was hacked, quits as head of Murdoch's British newspaper unit, News International.

She is arrested on suspicion of hacking and bribing officials two days later.

- July 17: Britain's top police officer, Scotland Yard chief Paul Stephenson, resigns over the force's links to the News of the World.

He is followed the next day by his assistant commissioner, John Yates, who refused to re-open the police investigation into hacking in 2009.

- July 19: Rupert Murdoch, his son James and Brooks are grilled by Britain's parliamentary media committee over the scandal. A protester attacks Murdoch senior with a foam pie.

- November 14: The Leveson inquiry begins formal hearings.

- November 21: Milly Dowler's parents tell the Leveson inquiry they were left with false hope that she was alive after someone -- now revealed to be a journalist -- picked up her voicemails when she went missing.

Actor Hugh Grant uses the inquiry to launch a stinging attack on the tabloids.


- January 9: Current and former editors of Murdoch's daily tabloid The Sun tell the Leveson inquiry the paper could be a "powerful force for good".

- January 28: Police arrest four journalists from The Sun for paying public officials for information. More journalists and officials are arrested in the following weeks.

- February 17: Murdoch announces the launch of The Sun on Sunday to replace the News of the World.

- April 24: Adam Smith, an adviser to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, resigns after James Murdoch tells the Leveson inquiry that Smith leaked details to a Murdoch lobbyist. Hunt defies intense pressure to quit.

- April 25-26: Rupert Murdoch tells Leveson there was a "cover-up" over phone hacking but he was not part of it.

- May 1: Parliament's media committee publishes scathing report that declares Rupert Murdoch unfit to lead a major global company.

- May 11: Rebekah Brooks reveals embarrassing texts to Leveson inquiry showing her close friendship with Cameron, including that he signed his "lol", which he mistakenly thought meant "lots of love".

- May 15: Brooks, her husband and four others are charged with trying to hide evidence from police.

- June 14: Cameron denies to the inquiry that he made any deals with the Murdoch press. More embarrassing text messages between him and Brooks emerge.

- July 24: Prosecutors charge Andy Coulson and Brooks with phone hacking. Their trials are later set for September 2013.

- November 20: Brooks and Coulson charged with paying bribes.

- November 29: Leveson is due deliver his report, with recommendations expected on a new system of regulation for the industry.

© 2012 AFP

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