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No News of the World axe here!

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

February 11, 2012 | 3 min read

Innocent until proven guilty. That is the universal rule that must apply to the phalanx of Sun journalists, nine in all, who have been arrested in the past two weeks.

The Sun: back to the wall

But no-one could avoid thinking the unthinkable: that in the light of News Corp's new reformist zeal, the Sun - Britain's biggest-selling daily - might go the way of its sister paper , abruptly shut down last year .

The Daily Mail said on its website, "The latest police action is likely to cast uncertainty over the future of the paper, after the closure of the News of the World in July in the wake of the phone hacking scandal."

Rupert Murdoch was galvanised to reassure staff of his commitment to the Sun.

Question: would this have been an issue had not News Corp so inexplicably and unjustly axed the News of the World last summer?

There was universal shock when the 'Screws' was abruptly closed over the phone hacking misdeeds of years earlier - no matter that the core issue, the alleged hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, might not have been down to the paper at all.

As a former Sunday paper editor, I wrote in The Drum that I could fully understand the impetus behind the News of the World’s drive to find Milly alive. If by some miracle , she had been, the alleged phone-hacking would never have been mentioned .

I said I could scarcely believe that the News of the World , which at other times did so much public good with its bare-knuckle campaigning journalism, had been closed by its shamed owners.

The Sun is a different kettle of fish. First off, everyone mentions The Page 3 girl. Despite that, the paper is probably more news-driven than exposé driven. Its readers love its gutsy style - and its Bizarre gossip column.

But if policemen and public servants were bribed to break the law in supplying information, they and the bribers should pay the penalty.

Any decision on whether to close the paper, however, should be left to the people who buy it. They can buy the Mirror instead !

So far, all 2.75 million of them are saying they want to keep their Sun . The management , however eager for eternal forgiveness, should respect that. So Mr Murdoch’s reassurance is good news.

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