LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (BosNewsLife)– Britain’s Evangelical Alliance, which represents millions of evangelical Christians, has “cautiously welcomed” The Sun newspaper’s decision to no longer publish photos of topless women on its infamous Page 3.
Steve Clifford, general director of the Alliance, told BosNewsLife that, if confirmed, he “lauds” the newspaper for ending this page after 44 years.
“The reality is that Page 3 is the thin edge of a very big wedge – the multibillion pound porn industry and after a whole generation it is finally coming to an end,” Clifford added in a statement.
“The discontinuation of Page 3 represents a victory for all women, and for all of us who have long campaigned for a more decent and respectful press in the UK.”
He urged The Sun’s publisher, Rupert Murdoch, to also remove the topless online version. “These actions would help to move us towards a more responsible media and a more civil society,” he said.
Yet, Chine Mbubaegbu, a director of the Alliance, called the move one step in a bigger “war”. “As evangelical Christians, we believe in the inherent dignity of all human beings. Since we believe that all are made in the image of God, we long for a society in which women are not objectified.”
She said The Sun’s decision followed “mounting pressure” from the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign. “It is a battle victory, but there is a war yet to be won for the dignified portrayal of all women – no matter their age, size or colour – across the media, fashion, beauty and advertising industries.”
The Alliance, which represent over two million British evangelicals, joined the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign in March last year, rallying supporters and 3,500 member churches.
Yet, even in The Sun’s newsroom questions were raised over Page 3.
Though the models contributed to the rise in circulation – reportedly 1.5 million to 2.1 million – publishing softcore pornography in a daily tabloid was arguable.
It began in 1970 when Sun editor Larry Lamb took a risk. When Murdoch was out of the country, Lamb published topless photos of a 20-year-old German model on Page 3.
“I helped make page three part of the language,” wrote Lamb, who died in 2000, according to The Washington Post newspaper. “In many ways now I wish I hadn’t.”
Last year Murdoch said Page 3 was “old-fashioned,” and that he was contemplating changes.