Monday, 18 November 2013

Good news: covering up the covers

Earlier this year the Co-op took the brave decision to no longer stock publications with sexually provocative covers unless they were supplied in modesty bags by their publishers.  The store admitted it would lose money as a result of the move but it decided to put its customers’ concerns before profit.

Happily this was not an isolated move and there is more positive news to report.

  • The Premier Inn hotel chain has announced that it will no longer be stocking lad’s mags in its hotels.
  • Numerous outlets have decided that they will no longer stock The Sun until it removes the infamous page 3 topless model.  These include over 20 student’s union shops and hospitals including North Bristol NHS trust.
The most encouraging news has come in the form of a letter which we have seen, sent from the publisher of the Midweek & Sunday Sport to independent newsagents.

The Sport has long been the worst offender when it comes to sexually explicit newspaper covers, regularly featuring soft-porn cover images.  This is one of the reasons that it is not stocked by the big supermarket chains although it is widely available in other outlets.

The publishers write that they are ‘not immune to the increased concern’ about explicit cover images.  They say they are ‘improving the look’ of their publication to ‘avoid cover pictures which could be described as sexualised’ and, in future, they will ‘feature [front cover] pictures… that fall in line with other national newspapers’.

This is wonderful news and further illustration of the fact that public opinion has turned and positive change is coming.

Although this is a step in the right direction there is still much which needs to change in order to clean up the public space and create a healthy environment for children in our society.

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