Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

The Irish Sun covers up page 3

Cultural differences cited as Dublin edition of tabloid dumps topless shots


Published 09/08/2013

New page 3 has dropped pictures of topless women
New page 3 has dropped pictures of topless women
How the old page 3 looked in the Irish Sun

The Sun newspaper has dropped topless page three photographs from its Republic of Ireland edition, stating "cutural differences" with the UK as the reason for the decision.

Page three images will continue to be printed in all UK versions, including the Northern Ireland edition, which is produced in Dublin.

Irish Sun editor Paul Clarkson, who took on the job last November, said: "Page three is a hugely popular pillar of the Sun in the UK and part of a package of great journalism which engages, entertains and informs.

"In the Irish Sun we strive to share the qualities that make the newspaper great in print and digital, but we also strive to cater for our own readers' needs and reflect the cultural differences in Ireland."

A No More Page Three campaign was launched last year by activists, who believe the images objectify women, "uphold sexist 1970s values" and have no place in a newspaper.

So far 138 UK MPs have signed a letter to Sun editor David Dinsmore saying they "cannot remain silent in the presence of a page that limits and misrepresents over half the population".

Among them are East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long, North Down Independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew, and South Down SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie.

The Irish edition of Rupert Murdoch's red-top has taken a new approach this week, including a topless picture of South African model Candice Swanepoel – with her nipples concealed by her arms.

The paper's office is said to have received a few calls from readers about the changes, with only one demanding a return to fully topless images.

Co Down-based media commentator Don Anderson believes the Northern Ireland edition could be next to drop the topless pictures.

He said: "Ireland is a much more conservative nation than England, the audience The Sun essentially serves.

"Recent debates on public morality, problems in the church, homosexuality and sexuality have probably affected the decision making process in The Sun.

"It's probably a wise decision to remove it. It will be interesting to see if circulation is affected.

"Possibly the Northern Ireland and Scottish editions will be next, the last to fall will be the English editions."

A spokeswoman for No More Page Three said: "We think this is a huge step in the right direction and we thank the editor, Paul Clarkson, for taking the lead in the dismantling of a sexist institution like page 3.

"We are hoping that the UK Sun will follow suit."

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