Fans of Pakistan Cricket, the followers, and the ‘crazies’ are familiar with the name ‘News of the World!’. Last summer, this newspaper revealed three Pakistani cricketers as being involved in the spot-fixing scandal, which eventually got them banned for different periods of time from cricket. There was a lot of ‘concern’ about whether the allegations were actually true, if the cricketers were set up, or whether it was just a normal thing in the world of cricket, and the three lads had been merely ‘unlucky’. That they were in England at that time, and were being very brave on and off the field, may have been something to do with it. Conspiracy theories aside, this action by the News of the World, or NOTW as it is often known as, shocked the entire cricket world, as well as Pakistan, and by my personal observation, most of Britain as well.
Now, that there has been speculation that the similar newspaper has been ‘hacking’ voice mails of murder victims, their families, the victims of 7/7 bombings, and dead soldiers, there has been an uprising of protest against the newspaper. So much so, that yesterday, they decided to close the newspaper down, and this Sunday will be its last ever edition. Now this is a newspaper that has been going on for about 150 years, and it has survived the world wars, the recessions, the depressions, and yet it has managed to self destruct by its ‘unusual’ ways of getting information, and speculating it.
I also heard how Hugh Grant had revealed the whole NOTW business, and how the BBC tried to interview him together with the NOTW representative, who simply turned around and told him that he deserves to be hacked because he earns 5 millions a movie. Valid justification? Not really, but Hugh had the wit to turn the tables by telling him that the dead people, the victims, the traumatized mourners, they do not earn 5 million. They have had enough already.
Needless to say, there was a lot of Pakistani Cricket fans who were happy at the fact. There was a feeling that NOTW is going down, because of Karma, and the cricket fans can finally rest. But does it end there? A friend of mine rightly pointed out that exposing the corruption in the sport was one of the few things the newspaper did right. I have to agree. However, there are the following few points:
- · Sadly, this ‘corruption’ has always been there, and it is no secret. It takes place in cricket, and it takes place in many other sports. However, letting it be is not acceptable.
- · There was also the feeling that the ‘poor innocent young lads’ were set up. Well if they were set up, they should have simply refused the offer.
- · The feeling that they are not the only ones. This may or may not be true, but sadly, this is how things go, and it has to start somewhere.
- · And of course, the popular one, it is a CONSPIRACY! That cricket is the uniting force in Pakistan, and to make people in Pakistan lose hope in cricket will make them lose hope in humanity itself. I am not even going to comment on this one.
What does one make of all this then? Is it right to even compare what happened last year to what is happening now with NOTW? Will it be back with another name, another brand, as most fear? Are the people really to blame because they are the ones who want the tabloids? Is anybody but the cricket fans even bothered about this connection?