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Rupert Murdoch: No defense for Sun lawbreakers, hope for great journalism

But the media mogul, who toured The Sun's London newsroom amid simmering staff revolt, also pledged to restore the newspaper's status and confirmed plans to soon launch a new Sunday edition to replace the shuttered News of the World.

By David StringerAssociated Press / February 17, 2012

News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch, reads his group's The Sun daily newspaper, as he is driven from his home, in central London, on Feb. 17. Murdoch is meeting with his British newspaper staff amid police inquiries into alleged misconduct and simmering dissent among the company's rank and file. A total of 10 current and ex-staff at The Sun have been questioned over the alleged payment of bribes to police and defense officials. None have so far been charged.

AP

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LONDON

News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch on Friday told staff at his scandal-hit British tabloid The Sun that executives will continue to give police any evidence of wrongdoing and won't protect reporters found to have broken the law.

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But the media mogul, who toured The Sun's London newsroom amid simmering staff revolt, also pledged to restore the newspaper's status and confirmed plans to soon launch a new Sunday edition to replace the shuttered News of the World.

In an emailed message to staff, Murdoch confirmed he plans to remain in London for several weeks to handle the crisis caused by Britain's phone hacking scandal and police investigations into alleged email hacking and purported bribery of public officials.

Murdoch's visit follows last week's arrest of five senior staff at The Sun as part of an inquiry into the alleged payment of bribes to police and defense officials for information. A total of 10 current and former staff at The Sun — Britain's biggest selling newspaper — have been questioned over the allegations. None has so far been charged.

"We cannot protect people who have paid public officials," Murdoch said in his email, which was forwarded to The Associated Press. "I am confident we can live by these commitments and still produce great journalism."

Murdoch confirmed that staff currently suspended amid the police inquiries would be allowed to return to their posts, and pledged to help The Sun, which he has owned since 1969, recover from the crisis. He said the tabloid is "part of me and is one of our proudest achievements."

"We will build on The Sun's proud heritage by launching The Sun on Sunday very soon," Murdoch's email read. "Our duty is to expand one of the world's most widely read newspapers and reach even more people than ever before."

Murdoch closed his previous flagship Sunday tabloid, the News of the World, in July amid outrage when it emerged that journalists at the tabloid routinely eavesdropped on the private cell phone voicemail messages of celebrities, sports figures, politicians and crime victims.

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