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Leading article: Reader power

The decision of major companies, including Ford, Virgin Holidays and Lloyds to cancel, suspend or reconsider advertising contracts could potentially hurt the News of the World long before any public inquiry opens.

Not that it was all the companies' own idea: the message came loud and clear through the social media that they could face a boycott of their own from customer-power. Self-interest, as so often, is at the heart of it.

While such mobilisation has much to recommend it, it would be regrettable if it were commercial reality, rather than acceptance of the ethical and legal considerations, that in the end forced the departure of Rebekah Brooks.