After taking a tour of the newsroom of The Sun, his second British tabloid to be investigated on allegations of corruption and illegal practices (in particular, email hacking), Rupert Murdoch has announced that, for the first time next Sunday, The Sun will publish a Sunday edition.
Notably, Murdoch’s elder son Lachlan accompanied him as he visited the offices of The Sun. Once considered the heir apparent to take the reins of his father’s media empire, Lachlan fell from grace after clashing with Fox News’s Roger Ailes in 2005 and has spent the past years in Australia while his younger brother James became the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation and the Chairman and CEO of News International. But James Murdoch has not fared well in the phone hacking scandal that led to his father shuttering the News of the World tabloid last July after it was revealed that that tabloid’s staff had hacked the voice mail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Some senior NoW staff will be working at the new Sunday edition of The Sun. Only about 20 out of some 200 employees have remained with News International, while 89 have taken buyouts.
The hacking scandal has led to three investigations of corruption not only by the paper’s staff, with editors and journalists at all levels arrested, but also of London’s Metropolitan police, some of whom have been arrested for receiving payments from the tabloids. The British government has also launched the Leveson inquiry into the ethics of the press, with testimony given from over 60 public figures including J.K. Rowling, Hugh Grant, Heather Mills, Charlotte Church and many other politicians and celebrities.
As the Guardian notes, the new edition of The Sun will be launched the day before Church takes News International to court over allegations of phone hacking.
While Murdoch has remained defiant as ever amid the steadily increasing allegations of illegal practices in his media empire — News Corp. has paid out $87 million in costs related to the ongoing phone hacking investigation — perhaps the scandal has made even him grateful for a bit of help from on high. As he tweeted on Sunday, February 19, ”Miracles do happen! Sun shining in London.”
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