Murdoch's Sun on Sunday to rise next weekend

 

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The Independent Online

The Sun on Sunday will be published for the first time next week, News International (NI) announced last night.

In an email sent to staff, chief executive Tom Mockridge said the company's chairman, Rupert Murdoch, would be staying in London to oversee the launch. Speculation over when the Sunday edition of the tabloid would appear has been mounting since the closure of the News of the World in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

Mr Murdoch flew into London last week to reassure staff at The Sun following the arrest of five senior journalists over allegations of corrupt payments to public officials.

The tabloid had already been rocked by five previous arrests. The latest action by police brought the total number of current and former senior reporters and executives detained since November to 10.

On Thursday, the 80-year-old media mogul moved to quell growing disquiet at the paper that arose as a result of the firm's decision to hand over information to police investigating the alleged payments.

He said that all suspensions imposed on arrested staff would be lifted, and pledged "unwavering support" for his journalists. He also vowed to root out wrongdoing at NI.

Next week's launch will be watched closely by rival newspapers that gained from the News of the World's closure in July. The Daily Star Sunday has been the biggest beneficiary in terms of an increase in sales – figures released earlier this month showed it had more than doubled its circulation since January last year. The Sunday red-top, owned by Express Newspapers, reported a 103.59 per cent rise in circulation to 644,804 last month, compared with January 2011.

The Sunday Mirror reported a 60.43 per cent increase over the same time period.

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