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Sun and Times under fire over Hillsborough front page omissions

Published 27/04/2016

The Sun's front page on Wednesday.
The Sun's front page on Wednesday.
An early edition of the Times.
A later edition of the Times acknowledged the Hillsborough verdicts.
The Sun's front page four days after the Hillsborough disaster.

The Sun and London Times newspapers have faced a barrage of criticism for not including the Hillsborough inquests verdicts on their front pages.

On Tuesday, a jury ruled that 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed in the 1989 tragedy.

It also cleared the fans of any blame over the disaster.

The ruling brought to the end one the longest running jury cases in British legal history and was celebrated by those families who had campaigned for justice for almost 30 years.

Prime Minster David Cameron hailed the verdicts as "long overdue Justice" and paid tribute to the "extraordinary courage" of the campaigners throughout their 27-year wait.

Read more:

Hillsborough inquests conclude 96 people killed unlawfully and fans not to blame for disaster

Bernard Ingham, who called Liverpool fans 'tanked up yobs', still refuses to apologise to Hillsborough families despite inquest findings

Hillsborough disaster families vindicated

My heart goes out to Liverpool families, says ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie

Almost every national daily newspaper recognised the verdicts on their coverage on Wednesday morning.

However, both The Sun and the Times omitted the historic case on their front pages on Wednesday. In a later edition of its front page, the Times acknowledged the case with a picture of the celebrating families.

The Times later said it made a mistake in omitting the story on its print edition.

There has been a fierce online backlash over the papers' coverage.


The Sun's front page four days after the Hillsborough disaster.
The Sun's front page four days after the Hillsborough disaster.

The Sun has been boycotted by the people of Liverpool and beyond over its coverage in the days following the disaster after its infamous "The Truth" front page.

However, after the Hillsborough Independent Panel's findings in 2012, the paper printed a front page with the headline "The Real Truth" in which it said it was "profoundly sorry" for its false reports.

Its current political editor, speaking on Sky News, said the paper had two pages of coverage of the decision inside on pages eight and nine.

Tom Newton Dunn dismissed questions over why the verdict was not given space on the front page when a story on the Prime Minister’s aides using WhatsApp to discuss the remain campaign was.

Video: Sun Journalists asked to leave Hillsborough families' press conference

He said: “You can discuss editorial judgements about what should or shouldn’t be on the front page, but in our paper tomorrow there are two extremely large pages of very significant coverage which talks about the huge importance of this day for the people who have suffered and the families who have spent so long trying to right a wrong.”

He said the paper's 1989 coverage of the disaster was the "worst thing ever" and the paper's journalists shuddered with the thought of it.

He said the paper had apologised in the past.

"It was our worst day, our deepest shame and it is embarrassing to be reminded of it,” he added.

Inside Wednesday's paper, The Sun again apologised for its 1989 coverage.

"The supporters were not to blame. But the police smeared them with a pack of lies which in 1989 which The Sun and others in the media swallowed whole.

"We apologised prominently 12 years ago, again four years ago on the front page, and do so unreservedly again now.

"Further, we pay tribute to the admirable tenacity of the friends and relatives over so many years on behalf of the 96 who died."

The paper's then editor Kelvin MacKenzie also apologised.

"As I have said before, the headline I published was wrong and I am profoundly sorry for the hurt it caused," he said.


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