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Rupert Murdoch Opening Sunday Sun Smacks Of 'Double Standards', Says Former Senior NOTW Journalist

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Rupert Murdoch's announcement that the Sun will launch a seven-day operation “very soon” is said to have calmed journalists at his Wapping HQ, following the arrest of several senior reporters and continued speculation over the future of Britain's best selling paper.

But the announcement, delivered to staff in an email, also put the media mogul's decision to close the News of the World in the spotlight once again - with MP Chris Bryant calling the move "premature".

While one former News of the World staffer who joined The Sun said colleagues were "comforted and excited" by the news, The Huffington Post UK spoke to a former senior NOTW journalist who was less than happy.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: "We can't help feeling 'why did he close the News of the World when he's happy to open a new newspaper under a cloud'."

"I felt betrayed when they closed the News of the World down," he added.

"I don't want to go back and work for Rupert Murdoch again after the way The News of the World was treated.

"We worked solidly for four years to try and pull back the News of the World's good name and we were achieving that ever since the phone hacking thing. We worked hard to get back and then we were repaid by the paper being shut.

"He says he's [Murdoch’s] going to produce another paper, we'll see what happens. I don't know what's in his mind. We do know if he wants to minimise his troubles, these papers that are causing him so much trouble with his investors, he's going to have to sell them or close them down so who knows what he's got in mind."

Murdoch also lifted the suspensions of all arrested News International employees, who have not been charged "pending police investigations", prompting the former journalist to question if the mogul was "confident" that the paper will emerge with a clean bill of health from the police investigation.

"In terms of cash and the UK operation, The Sun is now funding The Times and The Sunday Times so if he still wants to have influence in this country without making a loss he is going to have to make sure The Sun works. Perhaps he's confident that it will emerge with a clean bill of health from the police investigation," he said.

"Rupert Murdoch is all about America now. He started off making his money in British newspapers, that's where all his cash has come from. But now he's kicking away the ladder. Phone hacking accusations are causing trouble for him in America because the shareholders don't like it. He has to appease these shareholders in America and one way to do that is to distance himself from what's going on in British tabloids."

For former News of the World employees, the advent of The Sunday Sun smacks of "double standards".

"On the one hand he's closed down a paper because people's activities at that paper have been under question by the police,” the journalist said.

“The News of the World was closed down because of police investigations into what was going on at the News of the World. Now at the sister organisation, The Sun, where people are being arrested… and the opposite is happening.

"That's what I don't understand, there's a big disconnect now. That's what baffling me and it's also baffling ex-colleagues who don't have jobs."

However, there I hope that the announcement will be good for The Sun. The former journalist said reporters at the paper did not "deserve the treatment they've been given", adding: "Rupert Murdoch's got to make it up to them. These people have worked hard, non-stop, anti-social hours for years and years.

"Everyone at News of the World had colleagues they know and love who work at The Sun, so they're pleased their future is secure. Naturally we're pleased that there will be new jobs. Although I'd wait to see how many new jobs are on offer. But any journalist has to be pleased when a new newspaper opens. But on the negative side we can't help feeling 'why did he close the News of the World when he's happy to open a new newspaper under a cloud'. And people are thinking they might not get hired by the Sunday Sun, because they're tainted. That's the irony."

There are also questions about whether The Sunday Sun will attract the same number of readers as The News of the World. "Only half of The News of the World sales were made by people who buy the Sun. What's the circulation going to be of the new Sunday Sun? Will it just be The Sun as it is for six days a week on a Sunday? People buy papers for different reasons on a Sunday than they do for the rest of the week."

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