Supermarkets to 'cover up' newspaper front pages

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Newspapers and magazines

Move will ‘protect children’, claim campaigners

Tesco and Waitrose are to cover up newspaper front pages in response to concerns about children being exposed to ‘unsuitable’ content.

In a move welcomed by campaign groups such as No More Page 3 and Child Eyes, Tesco is redesigning its ‘news cube’ displays at its Superstore and Extra formats so that only mastheads would be visible to smaller children.

 “We are first and foremost a family retailer and it’s important we do everything we can to promote the right environment in store,” said Tracey Clements, Tesco customer experience and insight director. “We’ve asked our customers what they think about the issue and we have spoken to campaigners. The change we’re making will strike the right balance for everyone.”

Meanwhile, Waitrose has said it had been working on the issue “for some time” and would soon be changing its newspaper fixtures so it could display some newspaper covers out of the eye-line of children. 

Child Eyes, which campaigns to “protect children from negative, sexual and sexist images”, said it had met with Tesco directors and was delighted the retailer had listened to the concerns of parents.

Child Eyes co-founder Kathy McGuinness added: “We completely support press freedom to publish whatever they like within the law but we also support children’s right not to be exposed to sexualised material when they are just shopping in a supermarket with their parents. It’s great to see Tesco taking its responsibility as the UK’s biggest retailer seriously.”

And in a blog post on its website, campaigners No More Page 3 said it and Child Eyes had been “lobbying the major supermarkets for months to express concerns about the way ‘family un-friendly’ tabloid newspapers – particularly the Sun and the Star – were displayed on low-level shelves in young children’s line of sight”.

“As the covers of these newspapers frequently contain sexualised pictures of young women wearing  – well, not an awful lot, really – many of our supporters, especially those who are parents of young children, are understandably unhappy about being confronted with ‘sexy pics’ every time they pop into the supermarket for a pint of milk,” it stated.  “For our part, although Page 3 is behind the front cover, this is of little help when copies of the paper are frequently left open on low shelves, and both the Sun and the Star have taken to printing sexualised images on the front cover too.”

Readers' comments (6)

  • Why not just put an 18 rating on entry to Supermarkets. What with them pushing toys, sweets and unsuitable foods at kids, not to mention clothing that would be more suited to hookers than children, it would be far simpler to ban minor than making judgements over whether a magazine/news paper front cover was suitable or not.

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  • Yes please to protection of sexual overload for young children, but please also cover up all sweets and other food and drink stuffs our little ones should be kept away from!

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  • More of our power of choice being removed so that customers can't select what looks interesting to them. Interesting that the big supermarkets are going in this direction with their profits spiralling downwards when the likes of Aldi & Lidal are now starting to sell newspapers.
    I am sure that the kids will still come in and purchase sweets and energy drinks and can always view newspapers on-line later, that will be a great deal safer...

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  • I can see both sides but when do we stop. Newspapers, soft drinks are all being controlled and giving people less choice. Children cannot look at papers due images and text but they can all access a computer where they can gain access to anything.
    Why don't the newspapers work with Child's eyes etc to work on the front covers rather than hiding them.
    Some people rely on their sales of newspapers to survive. If everyone has to cover up eventually that will be the end of some small shops which keep the high streets going.

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  • I've just been reading the FT. Feel all grubby now. Disgusting publication.

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  • This makes sense, as long as all the newspapers remain readily accessible. Our local Tesco Metro has a gremlin who regularly flips the Sun over to Page 3 and leaves the latest dolly displayed in all her toplessness. Funny, but offensive to some, no doubt.

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