London: News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch will unveil the first issue of Sun on Sunday next week, a newspaper reported.

The widely-anticipated Sunday version of The Sun will be launched Feb 26, News Corporation chief executive Tom Mockridge told the staff.

The announcement on Sunday comes after Murdoch, 80, visited the Wapping offices of the tabloid on Friday to reassure employees in the wake of five more arrests of senior journalists over allegations of corrupt payments.

 Murdoch told colleagues the newspaper was "part of me" and described it as "one of our proudest achievements".

He also gave his firm backing to the members of staff arrested by saying "everyone is innocent unless proven otherwise".

In an email to staff, Mockridge said Murdoch would be staying in London to oversee the launch.
The Sun is a daily national newspaper published in Britain and owned by News Corporation.

The Sun on Sunday will replace the top-selling News of The World, which was closed in July last year after revelations that members of its staff had routinely hacked into mobile phone voicemail messages of celebrities, sports figures, politicians and crime victims and paid bribes to public officials to score exclusives.

The ensuing scandal stunned Britain's establishment, led to dozens of arrests and resignations, and spawned a wide-ranging official inquiry into British media ethics.

It also prompted a damaging advertiser boycott which left Murdoch with little choice but to close the tabloid, whose reputation had been left in tatters.

Since Murdoch closed the 168-year-old News of the World, police have made almost 40 arrests - detaining several reporters - over phone hacking and in two related inquiries into the alleged use of bribes to public officials and email hacking.

Millions of pounds have been paid out by Murdoch's company so far in out-of-court settlements to about 60 victims of hacking.