Former staff of the News of the World, the British tabloid closed amid allegations employees hacked up to 4,000 phones, have been offered roles at News Corp’s divisions in Dubai, it was reported Saturday.
An internal memo sent by News Corp, the media empire seven percent owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, offered staff alternative roles in countries including the UAE, Russia and South Africa, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The paper said staff had been “underwhelmed” by the positions on offer. Of the estimated 283 staff let go, some 150 are journalists.
"The idea that you would go from the News of the World to becoming an oil reporter for Dow Jones, a high end financial wire service, is laughable," a former employee was quoted as saying.
News Corp’s brands include the newswire Dow Jones, book publisher HarperCollins and the Fox Broadcasting company.
The media conglomerate also owns stakes in broadcaster BSkyB, which plans to launch Sky News Arabia in the UAE in early 2012, and in Prince Alwaleed’s media firm Rotana Group.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp scrapped a $12bn bid to buy all of highly profitable BSkyB, after the extent of the phone hacking allegations widened.
The News of the World is alleged to have hacked into phones including that of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler, and Sara Payne, the mother of eight-year-old Sarah Payne who was abducted and murdered.
The reverberations of the hacking scandal also saw Paul Stephenson, London's police commissioner, quit in the face of allegations that police officers had accepted money from the tabloid and had not done enough to investigate hacking charges that surfaced as far back as 2005.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said earlier this month he believed News Corp would emerge from the current crisis and that he does not plan to sell any of his shares in the company.
“At the end of the day we have to let the investigation take its procedure and we have to see where this ends,” he said. “Let’s not anticipate what the investigation might come up with.”
From / Arabian Business