Thursday, September 13, 2012

Police used the Press for their own propaganda

New light has been shed on how Police used the press as propaganda to influence public, and thus Parliament opinion about their own failings.
 The Hillsborough disaster occurred when 96 Liverpool fans died after they were crushed within Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.
The fans who died had been in two pens of the Leppings Lane terrace. Each pen was separated by fences, including an overhanging barrier designed to prevent pitch invasions. Each pen had a small locked gate that opened onto the pitch.
The report, compiled by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, said that despite obvious signs of distress, it was a while before the police fully reacted and launched attempts to rescue those who were being crushed.

The panel also looked at the allegations of blame levelled against Liverpool fans in some newspapers, including The Sun.

"The documents disclosed to the panel show that the origin of these serious allegations was a local Sheffield press agency informed by several SYP officers, an SYP Police Federation spokesperson and a local MP.
"They also demonstrate how the SYP Police Federation, supported informally by the SYP chief constable, sought to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on several police officers' allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence among a large number of Liverpool fans. This extended beyond the media to Parliament.
"Yet, from the mass of documents, television and CCTV coverage disclosed to the panel there is no evidence to support these allegations other than a few isolated examples of aggressive or verbally abusive behaviour clearly reflecting frustration and desperation."

On 12 September 2012, following the publication of the official report into the disaster using previously withheld Government papers which has exonerated the Liverpool fans present, Former Sun editor Kevin MacKenzie issued the following statement:
Today I offer my profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool for that headline. I too was totally misled. Twenty three years ago I was handed a piece of copy from a reputable news agency in Sheffield [White's] in which a senior police officer and a senior local MP [Sheffield Hallam MP Irvine Patnick] were making serious allegations against fans in the stadium. I had absolutely no reason to believe that these authority figures would lie and deceive over such a disaster. As the Prime Minister has made clear these allegations were wholly untrue and were part of a concerted plot by police officers to discredit the supporters thereby shifting the blame for the tragedy from themselves. It has taken more than two decades, 400,000 documents and a two-year inquiry to discover to my horror that it would have been far more accurate had I written the headline 'The Lies' rather than 'The Truth'. I published in good faith and I am sorry that it was so wrong.
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