Murdoch Pledges New Era of 'Trust' and 'Decency' in The Sun on Sunday
LONDON – Eschewing the glamour of pre-Oscar parties, Rupert Murdoch swapped Hollywood for Hertfordshire and the red carpet for a newspaper printing works as he personally oversaw the launch of The Sun on Sunday.
Seven months after he closed News of The World in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, the News Corp. boss personally oversaw production of the launch edition and was at News International's presses in Hertfordshire, England on Saturday night, England, as the first copies of the newspaper came off the print line.
In an editorial titled "A new Sun rises today" the paper acknowledged the controversy it continues to face and said its journalists would operate ethical and decent values.
"Our journalists must abide by the Press Complaints Commission's editors' code, the industry standard for ethical behaviour, and the News Corporation standards of business conduct. We will hold our journalists to the standards we expect of them," the paper said.
"After all a newspaper which holds the powerful to account must do the same with itself. You will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news," it continued.
The paper’s editorial also referred to the arrests of 10 current and former staff at the paper as part of probes into police bribery.
"Since then some of our own journalists have been arrested, though not charged, over allegations of payments to public officials for stories," the paper said.
"We believe those individuals are innocent until proven guilty. It has been a sobering experience for our entire industry."
With a front page featuring the ordeal of X Factor judge Amanda Holden, who was in critical care after giving birth to her daughter Hollie last month, the new title was a more female-friendly and softer version of the one-time Sunday newspaper market-leader The News of The World.
Although commentators have praised Murdoch’s chutzpah at getting the new launch off the ground just as The Sun was plunged into deep crisis, they have not been universally in favor of the new Sun on Sunday edition, criticizing its lack of edge.
"For the umpteenth time in the past four decades, Rupert Murdoch has unleashed a circulation war among Britain's national newspapers," wrote Matthew Engel in the Financial Times. "This time, however, it is different. His weapon of choice is a popgun."
Peter Preston, writing in The Guardian, said the paper offered "nothing new and none of the guilty pleasure" that had been key part of the appeal of the scandal-driven News of The World.