Murdoch flying to UK after Sun arrests

2012-02-12 14:25
London - Rupert Murdoch will fly to London this week to meet journalists at The Sun after five senior staff at his flagship British tabloid were arrested over bribery allegations, sources said on Sunday.

Publisher News International said Murdoch had given a "personal assurance" that The Sun would not face the same fate as its sister paper, the News of the World, which he closed in July amid a scandal over phone hacking.

The US-based media tycoon will come to London "later in the week", said a person familiar with the matter, adding that Murdoch's visit had already been planned before the arrests happened.

Another source close to the matter said he would meet with journalists at The Sun, Britain's biggest selling newspaper.

News International would not comment on Murdoch's trip, and the Australian-born magnate himself has not made any comment on the matter.

Corrupt payments

But in an e-mail to staff after the arrests on Saturday, News International chief executive Tom Mockridge said that Murdoch would stand by The Sun in the hour of its "greatest challenge".

"You should know that I have had a personal assurance today from Rupert Murdoch about his total commitment to continue to own and publish The Sun newspaper," Mockridge said.

The arrested Sun journalists were deputy editor Geoff Webster, picture editor John Edwards, chief reporter John Kay, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker and reporter John Sturgis, News International said.

A Ministry of Defence official, a member of the armed forces and a policeman were also arrested over allegations that journalists paid officials for information, police said.

They were held as part of a widening Scotland Yard probe into alleged corrupt payments by journalists to police and public officials in exchange for information.

Murdoch flew over to London in a hail of publicity when the hacking scandal broke. Within days the 168-year-old News of the World was shut down.

British media reported that many journalists at The Sun were furious over the so-called "witch-hunt", and at the fact that News Corp had handed over the information to police that led to the arrests.
- SAPA
Read more on:    news international  |  rupert murdoch  |  uk  |  uk hacking scandal
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