Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch hinted on Sunday that he’s considering making some changes to the notorious photos of topless women on page 3 of the British tabloid The Sun . Responding to a tweet on Sunday that called the institution “so last century,” Murdoch replied, “you maybe be right, don’t know but considering.”
It wasn’t much, but the tweet was enough to cause a swirl of Internet rumors. The Sun’s Page 3, which has been publishing photos of topless women for more than 40 years, has come under repeated attacks, most recently from the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign. The activist group is calling for companies to boycott the Sun, refusing to advertise in the paper until the topless photos are removed, reports the Huffington Post. “Boobs aren’t news, so why are they in the newspaper?” Lucy Holmes, the organization’s founder, asked in an op-ed in the Independent last September.
The Sun celebrated Page 3′s 40th anniversary in 2010; as part of the celebration, its online version offered the viewer the chance to interact “with your favorite Page 3 lovely” via a 360-degree image of the day’s model, as well as packs of Page 3 playing cards with photos of women’s breasts spanning four decades.
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The editor of The Sun, Dominic Mohan, has so far defended the paper’s prurient content. During the 2012 Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, Mohan told the panel that Page 3 is “meant to represent the youth and freshness and it celebrates natural beauty.”
“It’s obviously legal,” he added. “We’re allowed to publish those images, and I think it’s become quite an innocuous British institution.”
Despite Mohan’s assurances that Page 3 is an integral part of British culture, fellow members of the British media disagree. “Page 3 has been an embarrassment for several editors and many of the journalists down the years,” Roy Greenslade wrote this week in the Guardian. “How do reporters and sub-editors explain to their young children that the paper they work for carries pictures of topless women for no other reason than to titillate men?”