Project 222 'wrapped up' by News International

A new digital project staffed largely by former News of the World journalists has reportedly been shelved by News International.

Last month there was speculation that Project 222 was gearing up for a launch after a request was sent out to picture agencies asking that it have permission to use work syndicated on worldwide photography portal IDS.

Today, The Independent reports that Project 222 – based at 222 Gray's Inn Road in London – has been "wrapped up".

According to The Independent, the project involved apps specialising in entertainment and sport which were intended to use the iPad to bring a more upmarket audience to The Sun's content.

Staff have reportedly been offered redundancy and most are said to have been redeployed to the digital department of The Sun.

At least 11 former News of the World journalists were said in October to be working on a new unspecified digital project.

Former News of the World executive picture editor Paul Ashton was among those working on the project.

The secretive nature of the project has led to speculation that it was in fact a cover for the launch of a Sunday edition of The Sun. This has been rebuffed by News International sources.

On Saturday, 28 January, four senior serving and former Sun journalists: Chris Pharo, Mike Sullivan, Ferbus Shanahan and Graham Dudman were arrested and questioned by Met police officers investigating corruption.

Police were acting on information revealed by News Corp's own Management and Standards Committee. The four were released without charge on police bail.

Days after the arrests, the Financial Times reported that the arrests had led to plans for the launch of Sunday edition of The Sun being put "way on to the backburner".

News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch later said, via Twitter: "F.T. Financial Times or Fawlty Towers? Sun on Sunday story today 100 per cent wrong."

To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7336 5327 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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