A groundbreaking vote on 2 July could mark the beginning of the end for Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun.
Football supporter groups are holding the vote at the annual meeting of the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF). And the member of a Liverpool FC supporter group who will speak on the motion at the meeting believes it will pass.
Murdoch’s prize paper really could be in trouble. Because, if the vote is successful, the FSF will call on shops across England and Wales not to stock The Sun. And if no one will sell it, there’s no point printing it.
The Spirit of Shankly – the Liverpool Supporters’ Union – has proposed the motion. And the Everton Supporters Trust has also thrown its weight behind the proposal. If the motion is passed, the FSF will “call on all retailers and vendors of newspapers in their areas to stop selling The Sun”. The motion reads:
On 15th April 1989, a disaster at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield led, ultimately, to the deaths of 96 innocent fans who had left home that morning to watch a football match.
Those fans, whose ages ranged from 10 to 67 years old, were unlawfully killed that day.
Survivors who many as we know have also taken their own lives or had lives irrevocably changed since Hillsborough too.
Contrary to the facts, the Sun published a front page story with the banner headline ‘The Truth’ which contained blatant lies.
The timely vote comes as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced it has charged six people over the Hillsborough disaster. 96 people lost their lives in the crush at an FA Cup semi-final in 1989. Families of those who died and survivors have fought tirelessly for 27 years to get justice for those who died and suffered in the tragedy.
Following the disaster, The Sun ran a front-page article that blamed football fans for the incident. As The Canary previously reported:
The Sun accused Liverpool supporters of robbing victims, urinating on policemen and beating them up. It sought to alleviate police responsibility by blaming ordinary people. But the claims began to unravel 6 months after the front page ran, as they were entirely fabricated.
Furthermore, in 2016, new inquests confirmed that the Hillsborough victims were killed unlawfully. But The Sun, and Murdoch’s The Times, initially chose not to run the story on their front pages.
Going, going, gone
There’s already a widespread boycott of The Sun in Liverpool because of its Hillsborough coverage. In February, Liverpool Football Club also banned Sun journalists from its premises. Everton Football Club, meanwhile, banned the tabloid “from all areas of its operation” in April after an appalling article about footballer Ross Barkley.
But Spirit of Shankly member Roy Bentham, who will address the FSF meeting, says a successful vote on the motion could see Sun boycotts “breaking out very quickly everywhere”. Because the FSF represents football supporters across England and Wales.
However, such an outcome would not be the only reason for a crestfallen Murdoch as June draws to a close. The government’s decision to refer his attempt to buy up all of Sky to the competition authorities is also a blow. On 29 June, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced that she’s referring the bid to the Competition and Markets Authority over concerns about media plurality. The move will delay Bradley’s final decision on Murdoch’s bid by six months.
Murdoch’s Sky disappointment follows The Sun‘s failure to help return the Tories to government in a “strong and stable” position, despite its best pre-election efforts.
Overall, it’s been a bad month for the media mogul. But if this vote passes, his year could get much worse. Because it could trigger a swathe of Sun boycotts across the country, leaving Murdoch’s prized paper on its last legs.
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