Liverpool

Hillsborough disaster: Merseytravel in Sun newspaper boycott bid

Mersytravel committee Image copyright Total Eclipse of the S*n
Image caption Councillors unanimously backed the motion to request vendors stop selling the Sun across the Liverpool City Region transport network

Transport bosses in Liverpool are to ask news vendors to stop selling the Sun after backing a campaign to eradicate the paper from the city.

Merseytravel said people were "very offended" by the newspaper's coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football fans died.

The Sun reported Liverpool fans had "picked the pockets of victims" and "urinated" on police officers.

The Society of Editors said the motion was "stretching towards censorship".

Merseytravel chairman Liam Robinson said the transport authority agreed the move in support of The Total Eclipse of the S*n campaign which claims to have taken the paper out of more than 150 shops across the region.

'Offended'

"Lots and lots of people in this city get offended by this newspaper, they are offended to see it on sale," he said.

"People who have to sell it are offended to touch it.

"We are here to represent the travelling public and local people. [This motion] was backed unanimously by all political parties."

A letter is being drafted to call on vendors across the Liverpool City Region's transport network to stop selling the newspaper following the conclusion of the Hillsborough inquests earlier this year.

Merseytravel provides transport advice to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and is responsible for bus, rail and ferry services.

It operates Merseyrail, which does not sell the Sun in nine of its 16 stations.

Infamous headline

All 96 fans who died as a result of a crush at Hillsborough were unlawfully killed, the inquests concluded in April.

Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests

Four days after the 1989 disaster, the Sun newspaper published its now infamous front page under the headline "The Truth".

Other regional and national newspapers published similar allegations, although less prominently.

In 2012, the former Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie apologised to the people of Liverpool for The Truth headline, saying he had been "misled".

In a statement, he said: "These allegations were wholly untrue and were part of a concerted plot by police officers to discredit the supporters, thereby shifting the blame for the tragedy from themselves.

"It would have been far more accurate had I written the headline The Lies rather than The Truth."

Image copyright Total Eclipse of the S*n
Image caption Two taxis have also been branded with the Total Eclipse of the S*n's logo

Paul Collins, from the Total Eclipse of the S*n campaign, said the newspaper had "slandered the dead, it slandered the city with lies. It upsets decent people."

Bob Satchwell, from the Society of Editors which represents about 400 media outlets, said: "I think the issue is beginning to stretch towards censorship.

"No public organisation should be seeking to restrict a perfectly legitimate newspaper."

"[Merseytravel] should not be trying to influence newsagents handling the best-selling newspaper in the land."

Mr Satchwell said the Sun's current staff were not involved at the time of Hillsborough, the newspaper had reported what was being said by local police and it had apologised.

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