Murdoch with his latest offering to the people of Britain.
LONDON: Rupert Murdoch's Sun on Sunday tabloid hit news stands on Sunday, replacing the defunct News of the World with a pledge to meet high ethical standards after a challenging chapter in its history.
The 80-year-old media baron personally supervised the production late Saturday at a printworks in Hertfordshire, north of London, showing his support for what he hopes will be Britain's most-read Sunday newspaper.
The tycoon tweeted over the weekend that the first edition of the Sun on Sunday -- which means that the paper is now published seven days a week -- was a fantastic achievement by great staff.
The newspaper's front page splash featured an interview with Amanda Holden, a British television personality who nearly died after the birth of her daughter last month.
"My heart stopped for 40 seconds," read the banner headline on the front page, which was accompanied by a picture of Holden, 41, cradling her new daughter Hollie.
Inside, an editorial titled "A new Sun rises today" said the newspaper was appointing a so-called Readers' Champion to deal with complaints and correct errors, while also vowing that its journalists would be ethical.
"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," the editorial read.
"We will hold our journalists to the standards we expect of them. After all a newspaper which holds the powerful to account must do the same with itself.
"You will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news," adding that the paper would also be fearless, outspoken, mischievous and fun.
The Sun on Sunday was published more than seven months after Murdoch's News Corp. was forced to close its top-selling Sunday tabloid, the 168-year-old News of the World, amid outrage over the hacking of mobile phone voice mails.
The scandal exploded last July when it was revealed that a private investigator working for the News of the World had accessed the voice mail of a missing British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered.
News International, the British newspaper division of News Corp., has since settled dozens of compensation claims from celebrities and other public figures whose phones were also hacked.
In response to the scandal, British Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Leveson inquiry into culture, practice and ethics of the British press.
The Sun on Sunday's editorial admitted that News International had faced challenging times.
But the paper insisted that ten Sun journalists arrested since November on charges of bribing police and public officials for information were innocent until proven guilty.
And it maintained that The Sun tabloid has been a tremendous force for good since it was first launched back in 1969.
"It is worth reminding our readers, and detractors, of that as we publish our historic first Sunday edition during what is a challenging period," the paper added.
"News International closed our sister paper the News of the World over the phone hacking scandal.
The paper added: "It has been a sobering experience for our entire industry."
Murdoch, the Australian-born founder and head of the US-based News Corporation media empire, flew into Britain on February 16 to take charge of a crisis at The Sun after the most recent arrests.
He announced the surprise launch the following day during a visit to The Sun's offices in Wapping, east London.
On Friday, Murdoch said on Twitter that there had been widespread speculation over the sales of the Sun on Sunday, but he would be very happy at anything substantially over two million!
That would put it comfortably in front of the 1.9 million circulation of The Mail on Sunday, currently the best-selling weekly paper in Britain.
The new paper is being sold at a knockdown price of 50 pence in a move that has already sparked talk of a price war with some of Murdoch's rivals.
The first editions that rolled hot off the presses -- with British media reporting three million copies were being printed -- stuck largely to the daily paper's format.
It features new columnists such as Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, the second-highest ranking cleric in the Church of England, and former glamour model Katie Price, also known as Jordan.
The launch of the paper has been seen as an attempt by Murdoch to wrong-foot both critics and staff reportedly angry that News Corp. had given police the information that led to some of the arrests.
It has also been seen as a way of reassuring News Corp. shareholders in the United States that the firm is trying to move on from the News of the World scandal.
But sales of 2.75 million are needed to match the daily edition of The Sun's average circulation and the sort of sales figures achieved by the News of the World.
The Sun on Sunday's red-top rival, the Daily Star Sunday, slashed its price, while it is also likely to spark a price war with other papers including the Sunday Mirror and The People, which have all gained readers since the News of the World's closure.