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SoE: Merseytravel Sun boycott a 'slide towards censorship'

The Society of Editors has said that a decision by travel bosses in Liverpool to boycott The Sun is a "slide towards censorship" and that a public organisation seeking to restrict a legitimate newspaper should be a matter of concern for those that value press freedom.

As reported by the Society of Editors: Merseytravel, the main transport authority in Liverpool, announced this week that it would ask news vendors to stop selling the Sun after backing a campaign to eradicate the paper from the city.

Merseytravel said people were "very offended" by the newspaper's coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football fans died and, as a result, it would back the 'Total eclipse of the S*n' campaign which has called on newspaper vendors to refuse to stock the paper.

Speaking to BBC News, Bob Satchwell, Executive Director of the Society of Editors said that although he recognised the strength of feeling towards the newspaper in the city, it should be a matter of personal choice whether vendors wish to stock the paper and the decision of individuals as to whether they wish to buy it.

He said: "I think the issue is beginning to stretch towards censorship.

"No public organisation should be seeking to restrict a perfectly legitimate newspaper.

"[Merseytravel] should not be trying to influence newsagents handling the best-selling newspaper in the land."

Mr Satchwell added that the overwhelming majority of the Sun's current staff were not involved at the time of Hillsborough, the newspaper had reported what was being said by local police and it had apologised.

Read more on the BBC here.