Dominic Mohan Dominic Mohan: 'I don't think the images are sexualised' Credit: Michael Crabtree/PA
Sun editor Dominic Mohan has responded to women's rights groups calling for topless Page 3 photos to be banned - by arguing that the feature has become "a British institution".

Four women's groups have given evidence to the Leveson inquiry, arguing for a ban on topless photographs of women in newspapers, and more than 40 per cent of women in the UK would support a ban, according to a poll by women's charity Platform 51 published earlier today.

Mohan told the Leveson inquiry today: "This was first published 42 years ago and i think it represents youth and freshness. It celebrates natural beauty - we don't have models with plastic surgery. It's obviously legal. It's become an innocuous British institution.

"As a parent myself I'm more concerned about images they might find on the internet."

He added: "The ultimate sanction lies with the reader. I think it is tolerated by the majority of British society. I don't think the images are sexualised in the way that even some clothed images in magazines are.

"I think it's worth looking at Page 3 in a wider context of women's issues that we cover. The Page 3 girls have become ambassadors for the paper. I think you shouldn't look at Page 3 in isolation."

He highlighted a campaign against domestic violence, for example, led by the newspaper in 2003 as evidence.

The Sun has printed topless photos of women on page 3 since 1970.

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