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.”