Students at City University in London, one of the UK’s most respected journalism schools, have voted for the ban of the three UK national newspapers on campus.
The motion was voted by the university’s Student Union last night on a policy which outlined that the Daily Mail, The Sun and The Express were attacking “the weakest and poorest members of society” and that their stories are “inherently sexist”.
City’s Student Union declares that “There is no place for the Sun, Daily Mail or Express (in their current form), on the City University London campuses or properties.”
The policy specifically points out far right-journalists and politicians, such as Katy Hopkins, Richard Littlejohn, and Nigel Farage, saying that that they “have no place in mainstream media” and that “That the media has a duty not to stir up racial tensions and hatred just to sell papers.”
City University decided to ban the newspapers on the basis of four main factors. These include Islamophobia, Brexit, refugees and sexism. Here’s the evidence that they used to support the motion:
An article, written by Richard Littlejohn in the Mail on Sunday, questions the authenticity of refugees fleeing their country and describes them as fraudsters while comparing them to the soldiers who fought for Britain in WW1.
2. Article 50
An article that was published on the front page of the Mail stated that 3 High Court Judges were “Enemies Of The People” for deciding that Brexit must secure parliamentary approval before invoking article 50. They also stated that it was mirroring Nazi propaganda and that it undermined the rule of law in the UK.
The proposal outlined Islamophobia in all three newspapers, but especially in the Sun, where font-page headlines such as ‘Ramadan A Ding-Dong’ and “ ‘Muslim Convert’ beheads woman in garden” were printed.
The story the Union focused on in particular was one ran by the Mail about Nigel Farage joking that he could be “Trump’s chaperone to make sure he doesn’t grope the PM when they meet for the first time.”
The vote was won by 69 against 54 at the Union’s general meeting and has since sparked outcry from students not just in London, but across the country, asking what has happened to freedom of speech.
One student speaking to The Guardian asked “Are they going to try and stop students carrying newspapers and will lecturers no longer be able to use or refer to them?”
Grace, a final year student at the University of Manchester, sees the move as pointless, saying that “It’s just another example of students shielding themselves from opinions they don’t like.”
A City graduate, who is now working at the Daily Mail told the Huffington Post that “If people disagree with the views of certain newspapers, it’s worrying that they choose to ban them rather than debate them.”
Has the student population who voted just forgotten how the world works, or has the recent politics away from neoliberal progressive globalisation towards populist nationalism changed our outlook on the world?
Probably the latter.
After Brexit, the media argued that our society is becoming divided between those who were passionate for leaving the EU (said to be the working class, less educated and elderly) and those for remaining (wealthier, university educated and younger).
There was a media frenzy reporting the statistics that showed this disparity amongst Britons. Now, after Trump’s election, and the popularity (yet controversy) of Marine Le Pen, it seems that it’s not just us Britons that have a problem ingrained in society, but indeed, the whole world is starting to divide.
Could this just be the first backlash of many that we are to see in the younger generation? Banning the tabloids in one university may have led to questioning the freedom of press, but will it give way to other universities to follow suit? And if that happens, what’s the next step?
Students: “Trump is a fascist dictator”
Students: “Hey lets ban all these newspapers we don’t like”#CityUniversity
— Kristian Carter (@krstncarter) November 18, 2016
Yes, the move to ban these newspapers does pose a question of freedom, but what’s more important is what this says about our society.
As a millennial myself, I don’t agree with the majority of things that are published, but to ban the media ultimately says a lot more about the breakdown of a country than it does about those newspapers in question.
Sorry City, I’m not quite with you on this one.