Yes, pete, I do take the sceptical view. I worked for Murdoch for 3 years and I know that nothing is done under the pressure of public or political coercion. This strikes me as the plausible and likely motivation behind the move...
From The Guardian, the paper who single-handedly brought the scandal to light.The closure of the News of the World could be a cunning ploy to legally shred any incriminating evidence linked to the phone hacking scandal, according to a prominent media lawyer.
Mark Stephens, head of media with Finers Stephens Innocent lawyer, said under British law the paper "may not be obliged to retain documents that could be relevant to civil and criminal claims against the newspaper—even in cases that are already underway."
If News of the World is to be liquidated, Stephens told Reuters, it "is a stroke of genius—perhaps evil genius."
All of the assets of the shuttered newspaper, including its records, will be transferred to a professional liquidator (such as a global accounting firm). The liquidator's obligation is to maximize the estate's assets and minimize its liabilities. So the liquidator could be well within its discretion to decide News of the World would be best served by defaulting on pending claims rather than defending them. That way, the paper could simply destroy its documents to avoid the cost of warehousing them—and to preclude any other time bombs contained in News of the World's records from exploding.
News of the World closes