A Liverpool MP has condemned News International’s alleged plans for a Sunday edition of The Sun, the newspaper that lied to the public over Liverpool fans’ behaviour during the Hillsborough disaster.


At the peak of the nationwide outrage over the phone hacking scandal on Thursday, it was announced that the News of the World would publish its last edition on Sunday. Two domain names, sunonsunday.co.uk and sunonsunday.com, were said to have been purchased by an unknown buyer two days earlier, and News International has not denied reports that it will launch a Sun title to replace the News of the World.


During the emergency phone hacking debate in Parliament on Wednesday, Walton MP Steve Rotheram recalled The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster, where 96 Liverpool FC fans died, as the issue over Rupert Murdoch's bid to take 100 per cent control of BSkyB was also raised.


Mr Rotheram, who swapped his ticket before the Leppings Lane crush at Hillsborough, told JMU Journalism: “This is no longer a question of plurality – it’s about morality – and in my opinion Murdoch is not a fit and proper to be trusted with a wholly-owned BSkyB."


A Sunday edition of The Sun has not been officially

confirmed but Mr Rotheram feels News International are

shrewdly rebranding the News of the World and the

problems remain.


“The people of Liverpool have known for years the kind of

rubbish produced by representatives of Murdoch’s

papers,” he said. “Not only in Liverpool but throughout the

country, this will be seen as cocking a snoop at those who

feel that Murdoch’s titles should be punished for their

disgraceful behaviour.”


It took 15 years for an official apology to be published

about The Sun's Hillsborough stories and Merseyside

has upheld a boycott of the newspaper ever since the lies

which they infamously claimed to be 'The Truth'.


Mr Rotheram said: “This is a tipping point in relations

between MPs and the media. Never again should MPs

be fearful of standing up to excesses by newspaper

owners like Murdoch.”


He expects the reaction in Liverpool to be “absolute outrage and a boycott of the ‘new’ paper” if it surfaces. Already, both Liverpool and Everton FC fans have backed a campaign on Facebook by reposting this message: “The people of Liverpool have been crying out for the boycott of The Sun newspaper and the News of the World for 22 years. Justice for the 96.”


The closure of the NOTW came after advertising was pulled by major companies like Ford, Sainsbury’s and Npower. The 168 year-old newspaper and its parent company, News Corp, are reeling from an assault of new revelations about payments to police officers, and the phone hacking of the families of dead soldiers, July 7/7 victims and murdered children, Milly Dowler, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.


Former Director of Communications at 10 Downing Street, Andy Coulson, was arrested on Friday morning in connection with allegations made about his tenure as NOTW Editor. His editorial predecessor, Rebekah Brooks, faced fury from sacked NOTW staff when the shock announcement to close the paper was made, but kept her job as News International's Chief Executive.


Professor Chris Frost, the Head of Journalism at JMU, has written one of the definitive books on the subject: Journalism Ethics and Regulation. He said: “The phone hacking scandal has been the running sore of British journalism for some years now, so it’s good that we will finally be able to find out what really happened and deal with it.


"It’s saddening that it’s taken such awful revelations to finally alert the public to this cancer, but we need to remember that this sort of intrusion had become commonplace and needed to be stopped. A public inquiry must be held as soon as possible to investigate not only  journalism standards in the UK, but also the News of the World’s practices, the police investigations and the ineffectiveness of the Press Complaints Commission.“



Local MP condemns 'Sun on Sunday' plans

EXCLUSIVE by Chris Bradley, Website Editor

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Liverpool Walton MP, Steve Rotheram; ex-News of the World Editors, Rebekah Brooks & Andy Coulson

YouTube: James Murdoch, son of Rupert, explains the decision to close the NOTW

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