Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chair of News Corp thanked the Society of Editors’ at their 20th Anniversary Conference for recognising The Sun newspaper’s achievements on its 50th birthday.
Below is Murdoch’s address to delegates at the Society of Editors’ conference:
I was delighted when I heard that The Sun was to be recognised with this special award on the eve of our 50th birthday. Fifty years ago tonight, we would have been planning dummy editions ahead of our launch on November 17 1969. In those days there was much scepticism about whether we could make a success of it against Hugh Cudlipp’s , then dominant, Daily Mirror.
Though I believed that many people wanted something different, they wanted their voices to be heard. They wanted a newspaper that reflected their interests and they wanted wit, as well as wisdom.
They didn’t want an arrogant establishment lecturing them and once we launched, the readers came in their droves.
This award is for fifty years of championing good causes. And tonight I want to thank our millions of readers over the years, without them The Sun would not have been as positive a force at every step of the way. Our readers have been right behind us. When we have campaigned for changes to the law, we’ve had postbags, petitions full of our readers’ support and when we have told readers about causes that have needed support, they have fundraised and made a difference. In the last fifty years, Sun readers have contributed £100 million to charity. From raising money for help for heroes at a time when our wounded troops were being vilified, to knitting blankets for children freezing in refugee camps, we have seen numerous acts of huge generosity.
Our readers work hard and they want the best for their families. They stand up to injustice and they support the less fortunate. I am proud of the positive impact The Sun has had on so many occasions. These days as readers move from print to digital, we have more readers than ever before. Thirty-two million people a month read us digitally in Britain. It is a crucial time for journalism as we work out how to monetise our audiences so we can continue to invest in our journalism.
We must stay true to our origins as we continue to help our readers to navigate an increasingly complex world and great journalism has never been more important. Providing trusted information amongst the vast amount of digital dross; reporting the truth, putting another side of the story; investigating corruption and holding the powerful to account is as important as ever.
I want to thank the Society of Editors for standing up for us on many occasions when free speech has been challenged. It remains under serious threat from capricious law makers and the politically correct, who increasingly seek an insidious censorship.
Free speech is vital to a functioning democracy and a right so precious that it should be cherished.
Everyone here has a responsibility to give a voice to the voiceless and empower the powerless. Thank you for all that you do for our industry. Thank you for this award for The Sun and have a great evening.