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Flintshire Council set to discuss motion on proposals to boycott The Sun newspaper

Flintshire Councillors are set to discuss a motion which, if passed would see journalists from The Sun newspaper refused access to any Flintshire County Council premises.

The proposals will also seek to ban people from taking The Sun into any Flintshire County Council premises will be discussed at the next full council meeting on September 27.

The motion also calls on newsagents and retailers in Flintshire to consider ceasing to sell the paper in the county.

The proposals stop short of asking council staff, officials and elected members at Flintshire not to speak or give interviews to The Sun, however, it’s believed that may be added in when the motion is voted on by councillors.

Neighbouring Cheshire West and Chester Council passed a similar motion last week which will ensure that elected members and staff do not give interviews to Sun reporters and that the council does not advertise in the paper.

If passed Flintshire will be the 11th council to pass a motion against the newspaper.

The council motion has been proposed by Deputy Leader Cllr Bernie Attridge and Cllr Kevin Hughes it lists four points;

1) Not allow any person to bring the Sun newspaper into any Flintshire County Council premises, nor allow the same newspaper on any Flintshire County Council premises.

2) Refuse access to Sun journalists to any Flintshire County Council premises.

3) Ensure Flintshire County Council does not advertise in the Sun newspaper.

4) Encourages Flintshire County Council to support the ‘Total Eclipse of the S*n’ campaign in any reasonable way possible – subject to Full Council agreement.

The move follows a social media campaign by ‘Total Eclipse of the S*n’ a group which aims to encourage stores not to sell newspaper because of an article it published in 1989 which wrongly blamed Liverpool supporters for the Hillsborough disaster.

The motion also says;

On 15th April 1989, a disaster at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield led ultimately, to the deaths of 96 innocent fans who had left home that morning to watch a football match.

“Due to crowd control mis-management those fans, whose ages ranged from 10 to 67 years old, were unlawfully killed.

Contrary to the facts, the Sun published a front page story with the banner headline ‘The Truth’ which contained blatant lies.

Flintshire County Council wishes to express its disgust that these slurs on the victims of this disaster were published by a British national newspaper.

It is sobering to compare the behaviour of those who were in positions of responsibility and public trust with the dignity and courage displayed by the families of the 96 and the survivors, who have continued since 1989 to fight for justice whilst coping with the loss of their loved ones.

In subsequent years, the Sun has continued to bully vulnerable groups to further its own seedy agenda peddling hatred, division and lies.

The Council recognises and will not forget the hurt and distress caused to the people of involved by the lies and smears printed in The Sun, and, in particular, the distress caused to the families of the 96 and all the survivors. Neither will the Council forget The Sun’s inability to apologise over the years.

For this reason, Flintshire County Council calls on all retailers and vendors of newspapers in Flintshire to stop selling The Sun.

We commend the group called ‘Total Eclipse of the S*n’ for their endeavours to rid Flintshire of this newspaper.”

Cheshire West and Chester agreed to “ensure” elected members and staff at the authority do not advertise or give interviews with the paper at a meeting last week.

The motion was carried with 37 voting in favour, 31 abstaining and one voting against.

However, concerns were raised by the Society of Editors who said banning media “is how dictatorships start”.

Spokesman Ian Murray, talking about Cheshire West and Chester Councils motion to the BBC said the proposed ban would undermine the democratic principle of freedom of speech.