Sport ditches topless girls for graphic war pictures

The Daily Sport dropped its traditional centre spread of topless models for the first time to publish harrowing pictures of burning corpses in coverage of the Lebanon-Israel conflict which went far further than any other paper.

In an unusual move for the newspaper, it published a front-page opinion piece on the conflict. The double-page inside spread showed graphic photos of burning bodies and dead and wounded children.

Daily Sport editor David Beevers told Press Gazette: "We have a policy of carrying on quite a number of campaigns and banging on about them, and this is just the latest one. It's the first time we've ever dedicated a centre spread to such a serious issue.

"I'm reminded of years ago when there was the bombings of the embassy in East Africa, and ITV felt it necessary to show an entire documentary showing images that were previously censored. It strikes me that it's a similar exercise to that. It's showing people the true nature of what we're talking about instead of having sanitised TV reports every night."

Beevers said that the pictures were available to all newspapers from AP and Getty. He added: "People are just becoming blasé about the consequences of these kind of conflicts. We're so far detached from it. These pictures show what all this ranting and pub talk actually means when it's on the ground in the theatre of war."

Beevers said there was a debate in the Sport offices over whether to use the pictures. He said: "There were some people who were surprised we devoted a centre spread to it, but that shows how seriously we take the issue and the treatment of it. We make it clear in the editorial we're not trying to sensationalise or glorify it, quite the opposite. We've become desensitised and too used to violence."

Asked what he thought of other media coverage of the conflict, Beevers said: "I think we're drip-fed sanitised reports, particularly television news is more about celebrity presenting than the action on the ground."

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