Campaigns - boycott to minute's silence

Since forming, as a proactive collection of Hillsborough families, survivors and supporters in Feb 1998, the Campaign has struggled to bring Hillsborough and the continued lack of justice back into the public domain on many occassions.

Many people are aware that all clubs now observe a minutes silence on 15th April following the group's letter campaign. In this section you can read on this and other successes the group has acheived, as well as ongoing activites.

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The Hillsborough Justice Campaign
PO Box 1089
178 Walton Breck Road
L69 4WR
Tel / fax : 0151 2605262


Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign

During the production of the recent film "Bowling For Columbine", Michael Moore bought footage of football hooliganism under licence from the BBC. The footage that was used to illustrate football hooliganism and violence, in the film, including clips from the Hillsborough Disaster. The disaster has been the subject of various enquiries in the UK, and the British Judicial system has consistently found that violence or hooliganism played no part whatsoever in the disaster. Indeed the major inquiry into the disaster The Lord Justice Taylor report found that "The main cause of the Disaster was the breakdown of police control". The representation of the disaster in this matter causes much grief and stress for the bereaved families of the disaster. It should be remembered that this disaster brought the death of 96 innocent men, woman and children.

Michael Moore has contacted the Hillsborough Justice Campaign to assure us that he had been mis-sold the footage by the BBC, he went on to have it removed from the video/ DVD release of the video. He did appear to be the innocent party in this matter as at the end of the film he credits the BBC for the footage.

One of our members, Mike Hannah, has contacted the BBC about this. They inform us that they only have a policy of using this footage for educational purposes, and that they have not licensed the use of this footage either for this film, and especially for depiction in this manner. They have also told us that they will be investigating this matter further as in the films 'end credits' that BBC Worldwide are accredited. Unfortunately, after numerous weeks they have not been back to us on the matter.

This is not the first time that the BBC and their cousins BBC Worldwide have been involved in the mis-selling of Hillsborough footage. The BBC sold footage of the disaster to The Learning Channel, who have then used this footage in a number of ways. Both the BBC and The Learning Channel entered into correspondence with one Mike Hannah. Firstly, it was used as a trailer for "The Ultimate Survival Quiz". The same trailer spoke of having first hand accounts of survivors of 'crowd riots', whilst no specific reference was made to The Hillsborough Disaster, the intimation was that the cause of the Disaster was a crowd riot.

After the intervention of Mr Hannah, who pointed out the errors contained within the reference to Hillsborough, TLC withdrew reference to Hillsborough from the program that went to air in the USA. He received the following comments from TLC "The TLC family thanks you for alerting us to the sensitive nature of the footage of the Hillsborough tragedy that was scheduled to appear in our EXTREME SURVIVAL QUIZ program. The footage in question is being removed from the final show that will be broadcast and attempts are being made at removing it from the promo spots as well."

Two months after TLC withdrew the footage for this quiz, they aired a program called "Sporting Disasters". This program included footage of Hillsborough and a voiceover that cited the causes of the disaster as hooligans and ticket-less fans, it is also claimed that these ticket-less fans caused the abandonment of the game. They refer to the disaster as one of "The worst acts of hooliganism". This is of course, not the case and indeed, has been found not to be the case by the British Judicial enquiries, it appears that TLC, in conjunction with footage supplied by the BBC, are attempting to re-write the history of the disaster.

After much correspondence and Radio exposure about the issue The learning channel issued an apology the BBC issued a promise that they would "tighten up" on the licensing of the footage. These were obviously hollow words on behalf of the BBC.

TLC had previously caused anger and distress by using video footage of the disaster in a pseudo documentary entitled "Roman Blood Sport" that was released in conjunction with the DVD Gladiator. In this case TLC thought it suitable to use stills from The Hillsborough Disaster to illustrate the link between sport and violence- causing considerable stress to the bereaved families and survivors of the disaster. Indeed the BBC reported this matter, so should be very aware of TLC and how they have handled issues relating to Hillsborough with little or no sensitivity:

It is my understanding that part of the role of the Governors of the BBC is to ensure to maintain the high standards and values expected of the BBC as the nations broadcaster. The BBC website states that activities in which BBC Worldwide Ltd engages must be demonstrably supportive of the BBC's core purpose as a public service broadcaster, and maintain its reputation for excellence, quality and integrity. This is clearly not the case in this instance.

BBC Worldwide are supposed to act with the BBC core values, do they consider the sale under Licence of video footage of the Hillsborough disaster to depict football violence or hooliganism as part of these core values?

Are The BBC attempting to gain financially from the Disaster by selling the rights to this footage for use in light-entertainment programs? This is certainly not an issue that should be used in this manner.

We have again been assured by the BBC that the footage is now under far stricter control, but given their previous assurances it is difficult to have any faith in their ability to police such sensitive footage.

What is most disturbing is that despite their failings neither the BBC or BBC Worldwide saw fit to issue apologies for their role in the whole affair.

Thank you to Mike Hannah and Frank Hampson for their tireless work on this matter.