Murdoch hits back with Sun on Sunday

London: Mired in litigation and embarrassment, media baron Rupert Murdoch today hit back at his critics by launching the Sunday edition of the mass circulation The Sun tabloid with a promise not to repeat the mistakes of the phone-hacking scandal.

Murdoch bought The Sun in 1969, and since then the tabloid was published six days a week.

After closing the News of the World in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, Murdoch is now seeking to reclaim the readership with the Sunday edition of The Sun.

Murdoch, who arrived here last week to deal with new developments related to the phone-hacking inquiries, oversaw the printing of the first Sunday edition of The Sun last night in Broxbourne, Hertfortdshire.

Using his time-tested formula of price cuts challenging rivals, Murdoch priced the Sunday edition at 50 pence, prompting the Daily Star Sunday to reduce its price from 1 pound to 50 pence. The Sunday Mirror, however, did not reduce its price of 1 pound.

The Sunday edition of The Sun looks no different from its weekday avatars, and its contents too were not any different. Critics and readers already found it wanting when compared with the quality of the now closed News of the World.

But the new edition is still considered an achievement for Murdoch given that only last week, some of The Sun`s journalists were arrested and his company continues to be embroiled in costly settlement claims and daily revelations that continue to chip away at its reputation.

In an editorial titled `A new Sun rises today`, the tabloid referred to the phone-hacking scandal, promised not to repeat mistakes of the past, and claimed that "in some ways it marks a fresh beginning".

Noting that the phone-hacking scandal and the closure of the News of the World was "a sobering experience for our entire industry", the editorial promised to change by taking steps that include setting up "a new independent Sun Readers` Champion to accept feedback and correct significant errors".

Promising a more ethical approach to news gathering, it said: 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. After all, a newspaper which holds the powerful to account must do so with itself. You will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news," the editorial added.