The Boycott continues

Posted by Rushian on April 14, 2004, 04:27:29 PM

Ahead of the 15th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster tomorrow the Hillsborough Justice Campaign is renewing its call for a boycott of The S*n newspaper.

To this end three downloads are available for you to print out and hand out/post up wherever you feel education is necessary:

A letter to newsagents

An A4 size Boycott The S*n poster

And a very powerful A4 pdf poster asking for justice for Kevin Williams and the truth of the Hillsborough Disaster to be legally acknowledged.

Justice for the 96

Before last year's match with Fulham the HJC handed out 30,000 stickers. Posters, leaflets and letters were also distributed to newspagents throughout the Merseyside area (many of which are currently forced to take the newspaper by their distributors). Some of these posters were held up on the Kop:

The background to the boycott lies in the coverage by The S*n newspaper, edited at the time by Kelvin Mackenzie (now head of TalkSport) on the Wednesday following the disaster. It ran a front page article under the banner headline “The Truth” and proceeded to make outrageous claims that the fans had robbed and urinated on the dead, as well as beating up police as they tried to carry out the rescue operation. These allegations have, of course, been proven to be total and utter lies.

The response on Merseyside was one of outrage. Copies of the paper were burnt in the street and a boycott begun. The Press Council was flooded with complaints and ultimately upheld those complaints about The S*n’s disgraceful coverage of the disaster and found them guilty of lying. Despite this damning verdict Rupert Murdoch's newspaper has to this day refused to publish an adequate apology for the coverage and as a result the boycott remains in place.

An article in the Press Gazette (20th March, 2003), the bible of the newspaper industry, testifies to the power of the boycott:

"The S*n is still struggling with the legacy of Hillsborough, 14 years after the most disastrous publishing decision in the newspaper’s history, the National Readership Survey’s figures suggest. In North West England, The S*n is a poor second to the Daily Mirror"

It has been estimated that the boycott has cost News International £125 million in revenue and half a billion in sales and the newspaper is acutely aware of this:

"Ian Clarke, advertising director at The S*n, admitted this week: 'We know it was a mistake .... but every year it [the boycott] softens slightly as a younger audience comes through.' "

The paper has used many methods to increase sales again including heavy discounting of the price and radio ads on Merseyside up to the disgraceful full page advert in last season's Worthington Cup Final programme.

Whilst the newspaper is boycotted by many Reds across the country many of our younger fans are unaware of the lies that were printed by the rag and the still strong support for the boycott. The best way to make them (and others) aware is through education. For more information on the Hillsborough Disaster and the Justice Campaign visit:

Keep the boycott strong and Justice for the 96

Taken from Kenny Dalglish - My Autobiography.

When the S*n came out with the story about Liverpool fans being drunk and unruly, underneath a headline ‘The Truth,’ the reaction on Merseyside was one of complete outrage. Newsagents stopped stocking the S*n. People wouldn’t mention its name. They were burning copies of it. Anyone representing the S*n was abused. S*n reporters and photographers would lie, telling people they worked for the Liverpool Post and Echo. There was a lot of harassment of them because of what had been written. The Star had gone a bit strong as well but they apologised the next day. They knew the story had no foundation. Kelvin MacKenzie, the S*n’s editor, even called me up.

"How can we correct the situation?" he said.

"You know that big headline – ‘The Truth’," I replied. "All you have to do is put ‘We lied’ in the same size. Then you might be all right."

Mackenzie said: "I cannot do that."

"Well," I replied, "I cannot help you then."

That was it. I put the phone down. Merseysiders were outraged by the S*n. A great many still are.

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