The Students’ Union at City University, renowned as one of the top journalism schools, have passed a motion to ban newspapers in order to “oppose fascism”
In a motion to “oppose fascism”, City University of London’s Students’ Union have voted to ban the sale of The Sun, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Express on campus.
This motion is particularly embarrassing for the university, as they are one of the most respected journalism schools in the country, from which many graduates go on to work for the publications in question.
The university’s Students’ Union voted to ban the three newspapers, “in their current form”, under the motion of “opposing fascism and social divisiveness in the UK media”.
The motion made clear that these papers may not be the last to be banned, and that they were “merely used as high-profile examples”.
The Union’s motion claimed that the papers “published stories that demonise refugees and minorities”, and that the Daily Express and Daily Mail mirrored “Nazi propaganda” in “undermining the rule of law in the UK”.
The Union believe, as outlined in the motion, that the papers “actively scapegoat the working classes”and “publish stories that are sexist”. They add that “freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to attack the weakest and poorest members of society.”
Aside from the ban, the motion also resolves to promote “the active pressuring of the aforementioned media outlets to cease to fuel fascism, racial tension and hatred in society.”
In a statement Yusuf Ahmad, City University London Students’ Union President said: “A motion titled ‘Opposing Fascism & Social Divisiveness in the UK Media’ was debated and passed by the members in the Annual General Meeting. The Union is currently unaware of any outlets on campus selling the mentioned media publications. As with all motions, the Union will be considering how it implements this.”
Professor Suzanne Franks, Head of the Department of Journalism at City, commenting on the issue, cited her departments place “as a leader in its field, with an unrivalled record of helping graduates secure attractive employment in both traditional and emerging journalist roles”.
She added that students on the course “value being able to access the views of publications and broadcasters across the industry and the Department will continue to enable all these opportunities.”
According to The Guardian some journalism students have threatened to pull out of the Union in protest against the decision.
The Mancunion spoke with some MA Magazine students at the university about their responses to news of the ban.
Rebecca Hastings told The Mancunion that she understands “why people are concerned about censorship” but argued that “the bottom line is that the more the general public can do to undermine these kind of newspapers the better.”
Hastings added: “They’re more dangerous now than ever, and as a multicultural university, we need to protect minorities, and if that means banning the kind of vitriol these newspapers come out with, I don’t have a problem with it.”
Another student, Alys Key, thinks “it highlights a divide between the journalism department and the university in general.” She claimed that postgraduate students “often pass up the opportunity to get involved with the SU” because of time constraints and that “unfortunately the result is that we don’t get heard in meetings.”
Nick Earl is opposed to the ban, as he believes “publications available to us at university have to be as diverse in opinion as possible, otherwise how can we pretend to be an institution of free thought and inquiry?”
Earl acknowledged that while “some people may find the views expressed by the papers in question to be distasteful […] it can’t escape notice that it is only non-left publications that are given such censure, by indulgent, spoilt millenials who bandy the words racist and fascistic around like they are candy to the point of no meaning.”