Many people in Liverpool have boycotted the Sun for the last 24 years, ever since the newspaper uncritically parroted the South Yorkshire Police version of events at Hillsborough. That police accounts of the disaster were self-serving lies is now well known. The point is that there was evidence at the time to suggest that. To accept uncritically police accounts of events, any events, is at best lazy journalism.
Lazy journalism is not what you expect from the Independent but that is what we saw yesterday. Joan Smith visited Stockholm to tour the city at night with the police as they enforced the country’s laws criminalising the purchase of sex.
She parroted all that she was told about the success of this law in reducing prostitution. Readers would not necessarily know that these laws are controversial, that they are opposed not only by sex workers, but also by academics who have conducted research in the area and argue that the claims made by the Swedish authorities for the law are not supported by evidence.
I do not intend to explore here the question of who is right. That is not the issue. The point is that the readers of quality newspapers are entitled to expect objective and critical journalism, not PR puffs for the Swedish police. .