Editor of Britain's Times steps down

Comment on this story


iol news pic James Harding

REUTERS

Times newspaper editor James Harding arrives to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry in London in a February 7, 2012 file photo. Harding stepped down as editor of Rupert Murdoch's Times of London on December 12, 2012 in the latest upheaval at the mogul's troubled British newspaper business.

London - James Harding stepped down as editor of Rupert Murdoch's Times of London on Wednesday in the latest upheaval at the mogul's troubled British newspaper business.

No formal reason was given but Harding indicated the decision had been forced on him in his resignation speech to staff.

“It has been made clear to me that News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor of The Times,” said Harding, who was one of the youngest journalists to get the job when he took over in 2007.

“I have therefore agreed to stand down. I called Rupert this morning to offer my resignation and he accepted it,” he said in quotes reported by his own newspaper.

Harding, 43, will leave at the end of the month, according to a statement from News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch's News Corp.

The resignation comes at a tumultuous time for News International after Tom Mockridge stepped down as chief executive last week and in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the now defunct the News of the World, part of Murdoch's British newspaper stable.

Murdoch, who is splitting his empire into two companies, separating his newspaper and publishing businesses from the more profitable film and TV interests, installed Mike Darcey, a former economist known for signing commercial deals and boosting subscription revenues, as Mockridge's replacement.

Harding himself was criticised by a public inquiry which was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron to examine press ethics following the public furore over phone-hacking.

He was forced to apologise to the inquiry, headed by senior judge Brian Leveson, in February after admitting that one of the paper's reporters had hacked the email of an anonymous police blogger in 2009 to expose his identity.

People familiar with the situation at News International have speculated that John Witherow, the editor of the Times's sister paper, the Sunday Times, might replace Harding.

In its statement, News International merely said the national independent directors of The Times would be consulted on a replacement.

“James has been a distinguished editor for The Times, attracting talented staff to the paper and leading it through difficult times,” Murdoch said. “I have great respect for him as a colleague and friend, and truly hope we can work together again.”

Britain's national press, which has been struggling with declining readership in recent years, has also been reeling from Leveson's damning inquiry which called for a new legislation-backed watchdog to police the sometimes “outrageous” behaviour of newspapers.

Harding was playing a key role in the industry's attempts to come up with an effective system of self-regulation and thereby avoid any press law which editors argue would amount to state control. - Reuters


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks

Business Directory