Council Chair: ‘Boycott Sun over Hillsborough’

Council Chair wants the Sun banned in Union shop. Photo: David Parker

The Sun newspaper could be banned from sale in the Union Shop because of its coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Chair of the Union Council, Sam Mannion, proposed that council pass the ban without a referendum, although he admitted he would be happy to see students vote on the issue.

Mannion said: “We are a values-led organisation, we see that through, for example, the Nestlé boycott.

“This is a personal issue for me, I can admit that.”

The proposal was met with opposition from many of the councillors.

Journalism Councillor Tom Donnelly said: “Banning The Sun would be a totalitarian act of censorship, and given the fact that newspapers are course texts for Journalism students, The Sun should not be banned from the Union Shop.”

Sports Officer Ben Baldwin said: “This proposed boycott would impede on students’ right to choice.

“If we start banning newspapers based on bad journalism, we will have to ban a few more tabloids.”

Mersyside Boycott

Following the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in which 96 people died due to overcrowding, The Sun published an edition entitled “The Truth” which blamed the tragedy on drunk Liverpool fans.

The majority of councillors voted against the proposal leaving Mannion unsure of whether or not to continue with the motion.

Circulation has significantly decreased in Merseyside since the edition was published.

However, Mannion may not be able to campaign fully for his proposal due to his role within Union Council.

Mannion said: “Given that I put this forward before I was elected Chair of Union Council, I had a lot more freedom to do it then, but now I’m Chair I’m not sure how appropriate it would be to continue lobbying for it within council.”

The proposal reads: “We would be fully justified in joining with the many people who refuse to purchase, and the many newsagents who refuse to stock, on principle, The Sun newspaper.

“It appears that the government has now committed to releasing the full Cabinet papers around the time of the disaster, which should hopefully lead to justice for the 96 and their families (22 years too late).”


15 Responses to “Council Chair: ‘Boycott Sun over Hillsborough’”

  1. Shocked!

    Sheffield students can only pray this guy doesn’t run for President now he’s shown himself to be so nakedly authoritarian.

  2. Alistair Holmes

    whoever said “shocked!” should simply shut up. ‘nakedly authoritarian’? the sun is a flithy rag and it would hardly be a ‘totalitarian act of censorship to ban it’ as someone who i can only assume is a particular fan of hard right tories patronising working class people in a tabloid column. Anyway the wider issue is not about whether we have a particular dislike to rightwing tabloids, its that this is a local and timely issue which has a massive precedent, especially in merseyside. The role of the union is not to stand up for the kind of ‘equality’ you’re probably thinking of. the ‘equality’ which allows, white, bigoted, heterosexual, upper class toffs to say what the f**k they like. it is an equality which protects people against bigotry and discrimination

    I think it would be a strong message of support for the families of the hilsborough 96 for our student union to ban the sale of the sun.

    • unfair

      Alistair Holmes just seems to want to have a rant about The Sun! It is unfair to boycott a paper based on one poor news story which was published before much of the student body was even born. The reporters at the paper are now different and it is incredibly naive to tar them all with the same brush.

      Ultimately people should be allowed to read what they want. I completely agree with shocked! it is authoritarian to start dictating to students what they are allowed and not allowed to buy in the student union shop, a trend that should have been stopped before the current ridiculous bottled water ban!

  3. Christopher Beckett

    I myself am from Liverpool and have never and never would buy The Sun, and I am very happy to challenge those that do. However, I would never support a ban of the newspaper from the Union, even in light of the crazily untrue picture it painted of not only the 96 fans who died, Liverpool FC fans and also the people of Liverpool. And why? Because the Students’ Union is not a place where censorship and intolerant authoritarianism should be practiced. Is it not bad enough that the Union bans the selling of Nestle products, removing your consumer rights and not allowing you to enter into some ‘moral crusade’ against the company? This authoritarianism is also promoted in a more intolerant way through the Students’ Union’s membership of the NUS which bans people right-wing political beliefs from speaking.

    For me this is boils down to one central issue. What is the Students’ Union? The Students’ Union and especially the council is not, and should not be, some silly group of moral popularist crusaders who bring forward any measure which appears to be ‘ethical’ or ‘environmental’ or promotes ‘tolerance’. The Students’ Union is a place where people of all political persuasion should be allowed to engage each other in debate, and this is tolerance. Tolerance does not only work in one direction, it is not only anti-racist, anti-feminist or pro-environmental.

    Therefore, we must consider, would banning The Sun newspaper from the Union shop be tolerant? No, it removes peoples consumer choice and once again displays how the Union council practice silly moral over-lording because you, the student at a Russell Group university which is apparently one of the best in the country, is too stupid and ignorant to think for yourself. So I say to the Union, the Union Council and students, who are you? Are you able to practice moral responsibility based on your own beliefs?

  4. Shocked!

    Alastair Holmes, I’m pro-choice. That means I prefer it when people can CHOOSE what they buy, instead of having their choices dictated by somebody else.

    The Sun is a legal newspaper, sold nationwide. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it!

    But please, take your moralising and political bomb-throwing elsewhere and let the rest of us make our own choices! We’re not five year-olds, and we can make our own minds up. I don’t buy or read The Sun, I’m not hard Right and I don’t care if you approve or disapprove of what The Sun says.

    This is a pluralistic society – and I see no reason to indulge your or anyone else’s high-and-mighty attitude in determining what thousands of people are allowed to buy at a Union run for and by students.

  5. Shocked!

    Also, last point hopefully, lol. Just quoting from the article:

    “Mannion said: “We are a values-led organisation…””

    Really? Whose values, Sam? Yours? Or is there room for anyone else’s?

  6. Greg

    I think shocked! should actually think what words like “authoritarian” mean before he uses them so inappropriately and makes himself look so stupid as a result.

  7. This Isn't Fair

    “Authoritarian”, described by Cambridge Dictionaries: “refusing to allow [people] freedom to act as they wish” … refusing people the freedom to buy a legal tabloid? Authoritarian enough for me, Greg.

    And still NO-ONE prepared to explain why consumer choice SHOULD be restriced simply because the Council Chair has a personal issue with a certain tabloid, or because some people don’t like what that tabloid says.

    It’s sad, really, when you think about it. Some people are so insecure about their own surroundings, so determined to control what people can do and read, so up themselves and their own absolute belief that their views and tastes are solely legitimate, that they’re prepared and willing to ban a newspaper that is sold legally nationwide.

    Top marks though go to:

    – Journalism Councillor Tom Donnelly, who said: “Banning The Sun would be a totalitarian act of censorship.”

    – and Sports Officer Ben Baldwin, who said: “This proposed boycott would impede on students’ right to choice.”

    Thank God some people at the Union still talk sense!

  8. Greg

    All that’s missing from the hyper-emotional rubbish you’ve posted so far are the phrases “you couldn’t make it up” and “elf n’ safety”. Opposition to this is fine, but when it comes from you in this way…you undermine your cause with your exaggeration and sense of theatre. And I don’t believe that a boycott that would have to be agreed by the democratically elected council, and hence overturned at any time by the democratically elected council, and indeed one that wouldn’t prevent students bringing the paper into the union, qualifies as authoritarian. But then you’re probably the sort of person who thinks that laws requiring seat-belts to be worn mean that the UK amounts to a fascist state.

  9. Greg

    And don’t be scared shocked! Why don’t you tell us who you actually are? Don’t hide behind a false name, stand up and be proud to give us your opinions! Unless you’re scared.

  10. Sam Mannion

    I didn’t see this had been put up here. Wow, I think you need to calm down shocked! You’re right though, Ben Baldwin’s a good lad. To be honest, the only reason I brought this up is because I knew Forge would cover it and raise awareness of the 1989 coverage. Enough people have come up to me to say that they didn’t know about it before, and now had changed their minds on the paper, so that worked! Not that I used our great student paper of course.

  11. Shocked!

    OK, so let me see if I’ve got this straight, Sam. You propose a ban on a newspaper but without a referendum, THEN say you’re happy to see students vote on the issue and THEN say the only reason you brought it up was to raise awareness of the paper’s actions from 1989.

    LOL, the Union’s just one big playground for you, isn’t it, Sam?

    Sub-par politics, mate.

  12. Sam Mannion

    Course the union’s one big playground! It’s meant to be somewhere we can enjoy ourselves isn’t it? What is your real name by the way?

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