After the verdicts in the new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the Hillsborough stadium disaster of 1989 were made public, there was not only relief across Merseyside that justice had at last been done, but also a renewed revulsion towards the Sun newspaper. The title’s infamous campaign of blaming Liverpool fans for the disaster and its aftermath became a mark of shame for the Fourth Estate.
But now it had been made clear that the 96 were unlawfully killed - that there could be no doubt as to their innocence - the campaign against selling the Sun, already well-established in the city of Liverpool for so long, was given fresh momentum. Tesco and Sainsbury’s supermarkets were targeted; many took the title off their shelves.
Then, last month, came a further victory as eleven Asda stores followed suit. As the Echo told, “The newspaper, which is reviled on Merseyside for smearing Liverpool fans after the Hillsborough disaster, will be withdrawn from the shelves of Asda stores in Walton, Huyton, Hunts Cross, Bootle, Sefton, Aintree, Breck Road, Orrell Lane, Garston, Penny Lane and Stoneycroft … The stores are the latest in the area to stop selling the paper after campaign groups were set up earlier this year”.
And now has come an initiative from transport authority Merseytravel: as the BBC has reported, “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”. And there was more.
“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 … ‘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’”.
And more: “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”.
To no surprise at all, the Murdoch mafiosi were of less than perfect courage and left Society of Editors representative Bob Satchwell to plead “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”.
Satchwell then sold the pass by claiming “the Sun's current staff were not involved at the time of Hillsborough”, which is bullshit. Former editor Kelvin McFilth still has a twice-weekly column. The Murdoch press and its defenders can’t even lie straight. Just like in 1989.
Remember the 96 and their struggle next time you buy a paper. Don’t buy the Sun.