Council passes motion to ‘ban’ Sun newspaper

A scene from the Hillsborough disaster
A scene from the Hillsborough disaster

Council chiefs in St Helens have voted to back a motion calling for the Sun newspaper to be ‘removed’ from the town.

It follows an online campaign by group called ‘Total Eclipse of the S*n’, which was set May last year.

The group says it aimed to encourage stores not to sell newspaper because of an article it published in 1989 which wrongly blamed Liverpool supporters for the Hillsborough disaster.

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The council motion, which was proposed by former mayor Terry Shields and cabinet member Richard McCauley, read: “St Helens Council notes that a disaster at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989 led ultimately to the deaths of 96 innocent people who had left their homes that morning to watch a football match.

“Due to crowd control mismanagement, those fans, whose ages ranged from 10 to 67 years old, lost their lives.

Councillor Richard McCauley, who backed the motion

Councillor Richard McCauley, who backed the motion

“Contrary to the facts, The Sun newspaper published a front page story with the banner headline ‘The Truth’. The accompanying story contained blatant lies such as: ‘Drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked workers as they tried to revive victims’ and ‘Police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon’.”

“The council wishes to express its disgust that these slurs on the victims of this disaster were published by a British national newspaper.

It added: “The council recognises and will not forget the hurt and distress caused to the people of Merseyside by the lies and smears printed in The Sun, and, in particular, the distress caused to the families of the 96.

“Neither will the council forget The Sun’s refusal to apologise properly for the hurt it caused, until it was clear that public opinion demanded such an apology.

The Hillsborough disaster unfolds

The Hillsborough disaster unfolds

“This council notes the campaigns to eliminate The Sun newspaper from Merseyside and their call on all retailers and vendors of newspapers to stop selling this newspaper.”

Total Eclipse of the S*n describes itself as a peaceful campaign with over 50,000 members.

A group spokesman said: “We have enjoyed great success now having over 240 establishments not selling the rag. This includes small newsagents, major supermarkets and petrol stations.

“Cafes, pubs, hotels and local hospitals, have also joined in, showing their support to the campaign, as well as wrapping 96 cabs in our campaign message which you might have seen on a recent TV documentary.

“For this reason we have had support, from Mersey Travel, Liverpool City Council, Strabane and Derry Council, Wirral Council, West Lancashire Council, Sefton council and most recently Preston Council, who have all passed motions to call on all retailers and vendors of newspapers in the regions to stop selling The S*n and support our campaign.

“For the record we do not seek to ban the rag we are asking shops not to sell it. We are also asking our members to spend their money in the shops that do not sell it.

“We believe in freedom of choice but that freedom extends to shopkeepers choosing what they sell and our members choosing where to spend their money.”