Murdoch to publish 'Sun' this weekend

 

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation will launch a Sunday edition of the Sun this weekend, seven months after shutting the News of the World over a phone-hacking scandal.

In an internal memo to all staff, News International chief executive Tom Mockridge said the first edition of the Sun on Sunday would appear on February 26th.

Mr Murdoch will stay in London to oversee the launch, he said.

During a visit to the Sun's newsroom last week, Mr Murdoch said he will stay in London for several weeks to give his staff "unwavering support." He spent two hours talking to journalists on the newsroom floor.

He also announced that suspensions imposed on 10 of its journalists following their arrest in recent weeks were to be lifted immediately.

Nine current and former Sun staff have been arrested in recent weeks, after a secretive group set up by News Corp to trawl through emails, expense accounts and notebooks in a hunt for signs of criminality, passed information to the police.

The arrests were part of a wider investigation into journalists' payments to police for tipoffs, and other illegal news gathering practices, that have rocked political, media and police establishments in Britain over the past year.

The Sun on Sunday will replace the News of the World, which News Corp abruptly shut last July after an inquiry into the use of telephone hacking to generate stories provoked a public outcry.

The News of the World was the best-selling Sunday paper in Britain when it was closed last July. The launch of a Sunday title has every prospect of success, since much of the News of the World’s circulation simply disappeared after the tabloid was closed. The Mail on Sunday, despite spending millions of pounds, was unable to attract significant numbers of its readers.

Mr Murdoch bought the Sun in 1969 and swiftly turned it into a sensationalist daily tabloid, renowned for political clout, campaigns, entertainment stories, sex scandals, banner headlines and topless "Page 3" girls.

The latest scandal to hit News International, which groups the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times, had sparked fear that Mr Murdoch's visit to London would signal the 80-year-old media mogul's intention to quit the British media altogether.

Agencies