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The Daily Mirror and The Sun

The tabloid newspapers The Sun and The Mirror both reported little upon the abolition commemorations. What was stated was highly conservative in tone and barely engaged in wider debates. This absence is especially important given that these two newspapers are amongst the most widely read in Britain, taking up a sizeable portion of newspaper readership.

The small column inches devoted to the commemorations indicate the low priority given to the bicentenary. Batchelor's (The Mirror 25/03/2007: 18) report on James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, and his comments on the murder of Anthony Walker being connected to the legacy of slavery is given only two inches of space. The report on the question of an apology for the slave trade is considered, but only in the terms of using the arguments to further taint the image of former Prime Minister Blair (The Mirror, anon 26/03/2007: 8). The title, 'Shame...but no apology: Blair won't say sorry for slave trade', is represented more to highlight the lack of contrition from the former Prime Minister for the war in Iraq, rather than a genocide which only ended partially two hundred years previously. Paradoxically, the Mirror was running their anti-racism, 'Hope not Hate bus tour' during the commemorations, but did not choose to connect the two events.

The Sun only featured the commemorations in one article, 'Church marks end of slavery' (anon 25/03/2007: 10). Reporting on a service held at Durham Cathedral, prominence is given to the Christian perspective of the abolition, and specifically the ways in which the bicentenary would, 'prompt people to tackle the trade's legacies including examples of human trafficking and oppression across the globe.' The legacy of slavery within British society through racism, prejudice and inequality is not considered.

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