As this story has been rumbling for several years now, we shouldn’t be surprised at the recent outrageous revelations regarding the indefensible, criminal and morally corrupt behaviour of this country’s fourth estate, and in particular that of journalists and editors within the News of The World and The Sun.

I shan’t bother detailing the immense list of criminal acts carried out in the name of “honest journalism”, as they are shown comprehensively elsewhere.  Notably here;

This long running saga has involved politicians, celebrities, media moguls, and most tragically members of the public who have been the victims of terrible crimes themselves.  Those in this last category include the family of Milly Dowler, and are the people least able to defend themselves (unlike Ryan Giggs) against a newspaper industry that is out of control.

Yes, we must insist upon thorough investigations, and yes, we must formally hold those responsible to account.  Ponder this though.  Do the media usually wait until sentence is passed before apportioning guilt and whipping up a frenzy?  Not a bit of it.

They always say that people should vote with their feet, and stop buying newspapers, in order to register their protest.  How often have you seen this happen?  Very rarely.  However, most people are unaware of the 22 year old boycott of The Sun newspaper by the people of Liverpool.

In April 1989, four days after 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death on the terraces at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, Britain’s bestselling daily ran the front page headline ‘The Truth’. Below it were three subheadings: ‘Some fans picked pockets of victims’; ‘Some fans urinated on the brave cops’; ‘Some fans beat up PCs giving the kiss of life’. All were lies. The Taylor Inquiry after the disaster found that fans had responded quicker than the emergency services, performing several acts of heroism.

Such is the strength of feeling in Liverpool, that newsagents who even stock The Sun can find themselves losing customers.  Hats off to Liverpool I say, for taking such a principled stand.

As a result of today’s reports on the Phone Hacking scandal, there has begun a campaign throughout the social media channels, asking advertisers to stop paying this excuse for a newspaper, and that WH Smith refuse to stock it’s product.  Whilst it would be tempting to attempt a boycott of every News International paper, and even other papers suspected of similar underhand tactics, I think focussing all attention on NOTW and The Sun would have a better chance of success.  Given that ordinary men and women are those who pay for these papers daily, we must hope that this campaign can gather enough momentum to make a difference.


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Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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