Censorship: London students get free tabloid newspapers
You can get a free copy of the Sun newspaper at Odeon cinemas and London’s Queen Mary University (QM). The Odeon gives the red-top away because it believes newspapers are another form of entertainment. “Please take your free Sun,” invites the message by the pile of papers stacked in the Odeon chain’s foyets.
At QM students are giving the Sun away in defiance of a ban voted in by the Student Union.
The Union also banned The Daily Express and Daily Mail from all shops on campus. The Union said the newspapers contravene the union’s values of “diversity and inclusivity”.
So free speech activists got hold of 250 copies of the Sun (did they get them for free at the cinemas?) and handed them out. One free speech extremist (they are the best sort), Emily Dinsmore, says,”Some students showed resistance to our stunt, reflecting a sneering, hostile attitude towards the tabloid press. ‘Racist scumbags’, one right-on, plummy-voiced undergraduate hissed as we approached with the papers. ‘Waste of time’, a haughty student-council representative huffed on Twitter.”
Also quoting what’s said on Twitter, the Huffington Post hears the free speech rabble rousers called a “total pack of bellends” one of the women a “daft slag”.
A spokesperson for the Sun is pretty chuffed that at a time of falling newspaper sales the Sun remains relevant, telling us: “These young students deserve enormous credit for defying their peers and standing up for free speech and the ability to take an informed decision about what one reads, rather than have it dictated from above.”
The Tab says the bansturbators are in the minority: “Most of the students, even those who hold the tabloids in contempt, agreed that the ban on tabloids was ‘authoritarian’, and a hindrance to freedom of speech.”
A spokesman for the NUS London branch-explains their thinking: ‘Freedom of Speech comes with responsibility. When that “free speech” turns into hate speech we have a responsibility to protect our members.’
Hates speech is free speech, of course. The right to offend is what makes it free.
The Tab notes that the student unions’ prudishness does not extend to all: “What’s irrefutably odd about the boycott is that the Students’ Union has been a staunch advocate of giving a platform to holocaust deniers, advocates for killing homosexuals, advocates for the Islamic State, and radical fundamentalist speakers.”
As the East London Advertiser told readers in a 2015 story on QM: ‘The university has been singled out as among the “worst offenders” for hosting events involving extremist speakers at its campus in Mile End Road.’
Is QM Student Union part of a Labour Party recruitment drive?