LONDON (AP) — Rupert Murdoch’s newest newspaper launched Sunday with a familiar mix of celebrity news, scantily clad women and defiant language.
The Sun’s Sunday edition hit the stands two weeks after five employees of the tabloid were arrested in an inquiry into the alleged payment of bribes to police and defense officials.
The new Sunday tabloid replaces the News of the World, which closed in July after an advertising boycott led Mr. Murdoch to pull the 168-year-old paper. Britons were disgusted by revelations that the paper routinely had hacked into the phones of those in the public eye — including, most notoriously, a missing schoolgirl whose murder had shocked the country.
The scandal has spawned three parallel police investigations and a judge-led inquiry into media ethics, all of which are ongoing. Dozens have been arrested or been pushed to resign because of the scandal, include two of Britain’s top police officers, who were accused of not doing enough to get to grips with the tabloid’s wrongdoing.
The Sun Sunday said in its editorial that the scandal had been “a sobering experience for our entire industry.”
“The Sun has been a tremendous force for good. It is worth reminding our readers, and detractors, of that as we publish our historic first Sunday edition during what is a challenging period,” it said.
Mr. Murdoch flew to London to oversee the launch of the newspaper and was at the printing presses north of London on Saturday night to see the first editions appear.
The newspaper turns the Sun — Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper — into a seven-day operation, run by the same editor, Dominic Mohan.
The front-page story is an interview with British actress Amanda Holden speaking about the birth of her baby, during which she hemorrhaged badly, and columns by model Katie Price and Archbishop of York John Sentamu.
Journalist Peter Preston wrote in the Observer newspaper that the Sun Sunday lacks “any real revelation or guilty pleasures.”
Britain’s media ethics scandal flared again last week just ahead of the launch of the newspaper, with two men arrested Friday on suspicion of computer hacking, and a senior police officer placed under investigation for allegedly leaking information to Mr. Murdoch‘s News International.