The Sun: Report our 'blackest day'

Bicester Advertiser: Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, has offered his 'profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool' Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, has offered his 'profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool'

The editor of The Sun has apologised for his newspaper's role in the Hillsborough tragedy cover-up.

Its front page four days after the 1989 tragedy included claims that Liverpool fans had urinated on police officers resuscitating the dying and stolen from the dead.

The Sun's report caused widespread revulsion in the city and led to an almost-total boycott of the paper on Merseyside that exists to this day.

In light of the report the newspaper's editor at the time, Kelvin MacKenzie, offered his profuse apologies for the story's headline, The Truth, which he wrote. In today's Sun newspaper Mr MacKenzie said: "I am sorry that it was so wrong. 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."

Current editor Dominic Mohan said: "Twenty-three years ago The Sun newspaper made a terrible mistake. We published an inaccurate and offensive story about the events at Hillsborough. We said it was the truth - it wasn't.

"The Hillsborough Independent Panel has now established what really happened that day. It's an appalling story and at the heart of it are the police's attempts to smear Liverpool fans. It's a version of events that 23 years ago The Sun went along with and for that we're deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry. We've co-operated fully with the Hillsborough Independent Panel."

An editorial comment in today's newspaper reiterates The Sun's sorrow at its mistake. "The Sun's reporting of the Hillsborough tragedy 23 years ago is without doubt the blackest day in this newspaper's history," it reads. "The Hillsborough Independent Panel's report into the disaster lays bare the disgraceful attempt by South Yorkshire police to hide their culpability behind a smokescreen of lies."

It continues: "But it is to the eternal discredit of The Sun that we reported as fact this misinformation which tarnished the reputation of Liverpool fans including the 96 victims. today we unreservedly apologise to the Hillsborough victims, their families, Liverpool supporters, the city of Liverpool and all our readers for that misjudgment.

"The role of a newspaper is to uncover injustice. To forensically examine the claims made by those who are in positions of power. In the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy we failed. And by failing in our duty we heaped more misery on the families of those who lost their lives and the people of Liverpool.

"Nothing can excuse The Sun's Page One presentation, under the headline The Truth. It was inaccurate, grossly insensitive and offensive. This version of events was not the truth."

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