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
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FHM magazine and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
Over recent months there has been a proliferation of articles and television broadcasts showing inaccurate and often offensive accounts of the Hillsborough Disaster. Whilst the articles may not have been as damning as the infamous front page headline in the Sun newspaper in 1989, many have caused distress and heartache to the bereaved and survivors of the disaster alike. The internet has proved an invaluable tool in closely monitoring what has been published Worldwide in respect of Hillsborough and a very effective way of mobilising support for the Campaign.
In October 2002 Joe Williams, an HJC member, bought a copy of the Australian edition of FHM magazine. Inside the magazine was a cartoon-like depiction of the disaster. Accompanying each photograph was a comment trying to make light of the events.
Joe immediately reported this across the spectrum of Liverpool websites and FHM were inundated with email complaints on the issue. The UK version of the magazine was quick to distance itself from the actions of the Australian edition. David Davies, the UK editor wrote "I would like to assure you that we are taking this matter extremely seriously. I would also like to express our total regret for the suffering and sorrow caused by the article."
Under increased pressure FHM Australia also acted with the Chief Executive Geoff Campbell stating that:
"FHM Australia has clearly acted without sensitivity and in a totally inappropriate manner. We unreservedly apologise for the anguish and pain that such treatment of the Hillsborough disaster has caused to the relatives and friends of the victims, of all those present, and of all those touched by such a disaster."
The issue of the magazine was withdrawn from sale in Australia. Although the original article never appeared in the UK edition of the magazine, the December edition in both the UK and Australia carried a full page of letters from Liverpool fans condemning the actions of FHM magazine.
Both the January and February editions in both countries contained considerable exposure for both the HJC and Anne Williams case, in particular. Although FHMs initial actions must be condemned it must also be admitted that they did everything that they possibly could to correct their errors and to an extent offered the Justice Campaign the opportunity to correct their errors and right those wrongs and mis-information.
Again thanks should go out to Joe Williams and all those who reacted so eloquently and speedily to the publication, placing considerable pressure on FHM across two continents to correct their misdemeanours.
In January 2003 the UK edition of Maxim magazine ran a letter mocking FHMs insensitivity and explaining how they would never make such a fundamental error, with the editorial comment "You're safe from such outrages with Maxim!". Amazingly, in the same month the US edition of the magazine ran a feature ran a feature entitled "Sudden Death", about some of the soccer disasters. The story is primarily about violence. Along the bottom of the story is a sub-story titled:
"Blood Sports : Soccer Fans Are Notorious For Excellent Manners - Here's The Worst Of The Worst"
with images and captions of football violence along with a picture of the disaster and the caption: "Death toll is 95 after stampede at England's Hillsborough Stadium"
Again the response from Liverpool fans was exemplary, with two US based Liverpool supporters Jon Sharman and Mike Hannah ensuring that the matter would not go away. They encouraged all the Liverpool FC forums to write to Maxim and copy the emails to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Clerkson of Maxim contacted Mike and stated:
"The sentiment of the letters we have received in relation to the Hillsborough caption is that the editors' use of the word 'stampede' is incorrect because it implies inappropriate behaviour. The word 'stampede' was used in the article because that is what the editors understood to have happened on that tragic day. If this wording is not strictly correct, it certainly does not indicate that any particular group was at fault, certainly not the fans. Still, everyone at Maxim magazine is sorry that that choice of words has offended anyone."
By way of apology they published in the March edition of the magazine:
"We received many e-mails about this thanks to an organized letter campaign. We're sorry people took offence to the word 'Stampede', but we never said it was the fault of the fans...because it wasn't."
This was an excuse, half hearted at best. No mention was made of the fact that whilst the use of the word stampede may not have implied any wrongdoing on behalf of the fans, the context it was used in, placed in amongst images of soccer violence, certainly did. John and Mike certainly were not about to let Maxim get away with it, and ably assisted by the literally hundreds of Liverpool fans who continued to email and write to Maxim they were finally forced to publish the following apology in the May issue of the magazine. Over a hundred days since the original article ran, here was the sincere apology we'd been promised all along.
"A piece in our January 2003 issue titled "Blood Sport: Soccer fans are notorious for excellent manners - here's the worst of the worst" wrongly implied that soccer fans incited all the disturbances pictured and listed in the piece, particularly the 1989 tragedy at England's Hillsborough Stadium in which 96 people died as a result of egregious policing errors. We sincerely apologize to anyone upset by the article and we regret the error."