Rupert Murdoch is understood to have told staff in an email, circulated before he addressed them (see below), that News Corporation is planning to launch the Sun on Sunday very soon.
He told staff: “We will build on The Sun’s proud heritage by launching The Sun on Sunday very soon”.
Murdoch jetted in overnight to address Sun staff and reassure them that the future of the paper was safe. He is also thought to have told them that he will be staying in London for “several weeks” to offer “unwavering support”.
He also told Sun journalists in his email that the recent arrests of its journalists were “a source of great pain for me”.
He also said that all staff suspensions will be lifted referring to the ten Sun staff who have now been suspended following arrests over payments to public figures.
Earlier this week it was reported that Sun journalists were considering human rights challenge to News Corp Management Standards Committee (MSC) inquiry team.
However, Murdoch effectively endorsed the MSC’s decision to disclose confidential Sun sources to police, in his email (full text below), as he wrote: “We will continue to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to protect legitimate journalistic privilege and sources, which I know are essential for all of you to do your jobs. But we cannot protect people who have paid public officials.”
Murdoch’s announcement that the Sun on Sunday will be with us very soon all seems to suggest that it could arrive by April as it was originally reported.
What will be interesting to see now is if those readers of the News of the World who stopped buying a paper return and begin picking up the Sun on Sunday? What do you think?
I said last year that I thought the Sun on Sunday could be a success. It has the Sun brand behind it and that, as we know, has wide appeal.
Other questions immediately arise such as will rivals launch against? Associated Newspapers has previously been reported to be working on a red top rival. That could now be back on.
Sky News correspondent political correspondent, @SophyRidgeSky, has been tweeting details:
I’m told when Sun journalists received the email, the “mood was visibly lifted”… “everyone was thrilled”.
— Sophy Ridge (@SophyRidgeSky) February 17, 2012
Rupert Murdoch: Sun “is a part of me and one of our proudest achievements” — Sophy Ridge (@SophyRidgeSky) February 17, 2012
Commitment to Sun on Sunday important. But staff are telling me lifting of suspensions on those who were arrested also huge thing for many.
— Sophy Ridge (@SophyRidgeSky) February 17, 2012
The Rupert Murdoch email sent to staff this afternoon:
I’ve worked alongside you for 43 years to build The Sun into one of the world’s finest papers. It is a part of me and is one of our proudest achievements. The Sun occupies a unique and important position within News Corporation.
I have immense respect for our heritage, your exceptional journalism and, above all, you, the talented women and men who work tirelessly every day to ensure our readers have access to such a trusted news source. I believe this newsroom is full of great journalists and I remain grateful for your superb work and for the stories you uncover to inform and protect the public. None more so than over the last three weeks.
My continuing respect makes this situation a source of great pain for me, as I know it is for each of you.
We will obey the law. Illegal activities simply cannot and will not be tolerated – at any of our publications. Our Board of Directors, our management team and I take these issues very seriously.
Our independently chaired Management & Standards Committee, which operates outside of News International, has been instructed to cooperate with the police. We will turn over every piece of evidence we find — not just because we are obligated to but because it is the right thing to do.
We are doing everything we can to assist those who were arrested — all suspensions are hereby lifted until or whether charged and they are welcome to return to work. News Corporation will cover their legal expenses. Everyone is innocent unless proven otherwise.
I made a commitment last summer that I would do everything I could to get to the bottom of our problems and make this Company an example to Fleet Street of ethical journalism. We will continue to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to protect legitimate journalistic privilege and sources, which I know are essential for all of you to do your jobs. But we cannot protect people who have paid public officials.
I am confident we can live by these commitments and still produce great journalism.
We will build on The Sun’s proud heritage by launching The Sun on Sunday very soon. Our duty is to expand one of the world’s most widely read newspapers and reach even more people than ever before.
Having a winning paper is the best answer to our critics.
I am even more determined to see The Sun continue to fight for its readers and its beliefs. I am staying with you all, in London, for the next several weeks to give you my unwavering support.
I am confident we will get through this together and emerge stronger. Thank you,