City's tabloid newspaper ban, from the inside
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With all of City, University of London's astounding achievements across the board it is so shameful that we've been viral in the papers over banning three tabloids from school premises. The one time the SU actually gets listened to is the time that's made us look like massive idiots. However, most that I've read in the past few days seems to either be extremely angry and biased, or very opinionated and outraged... doing very little to solve the problem, take a practical look at it, or even actually analyse the scale of impact a proposition of this sort could have. As founding member of the upcoming Student Media Society and socially active journalism student at City, I do believe there's indeed a side of the story that's been lagging in the background. Here's a more in-depth look at everything that's been going on. It's an unrealistic motion In Thursday's Annual General Meeting the Student Union held a debate on whether the proposal of actively discouraging the circulation of The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Express should be pushed by the Student Union as their policy. Such motion, birthed by Nicholas Owen, Creative Writing and Publishing student, reads as follows. Let's also add that the word “fascism” was misspelled in the title in the first place. In all honesty, this motion wouldn't have even been taken into consideration at a high-school Model United Nations hearing or middle school government simulation. It is worded quite loosely and proposes nothing of any solid value whatsoever. First things first. The motion never mentions the word ban, it goes around it, trying to dodge the bullet and coming across as a piece of meaningless legislation overall. Secondly, the motion does very little to explain the methods of implementation of such policy. How are we supposed to discourage the circulation of such newspapers if we have no newspaper selling points or stands on university premises? We cannot fine or arrest anybody for walking in with a tabloid in their hands, let alone visiting the website. In addition, a solid slice of the people in the journalism department (both staff and students) are employed or have been contributing to one of those three newspapers, as well as constantly actively referring to them and analysing during classes and case studies. So banning them is not even imaginable. In fact, after the scandal I had the pleasure to chat with Nick, although he didn't agree to an official interview. The little I was able to gather, and hope he won't mind if I share, I believe that his intentions weren't as crude as those portrayed by the media, as he didn't want to actively ban the publications and fall into the fascist censorship pit he's stuck in now. Rather he probably would like to discourage the readership of those papers as they often fuel hatred, racism and Islamophobia, representing a political stance he might personally feel the SU shouldn't endorse. Fair. We respect every student's view. SUs are after all the nestling den for lefties in all forms and shapes, probably myself included. And if the motion had said “racism has no place in City University” I'm sure everybody would have agreed. It just happens to be that the whole situation was dealt with in a clueless way and spiralled into a vicious cycle of bullshit. Democracy fails us once again So if the motion overall is bullshit then how did it pass the vote of an Annual General Meeting? In case you didn't know, in the AGM students propose motions, and discuss and vote upon them. If motions pass they become official SU policy that has to be campaigned for. According to City SU's constitution the few lucky puppets that happened to show up to that meeting end up writing the SU agenda for the rest of the year. There were roughly 190 students present on that Thursday evening. That's barely 1% of the 19,000 student population at City. That's a blame to share equally as, yes, the SU's public relations aren't of the best quality. But City students also tend to be quite uninterested by default. This unfortunately is yet another thermometer of how little attention is actually given to the SU and how little the students are active in the union's affairs for most of the times. The sink-hole in the democratic process rules sovereign once again. Almost definitely if 20 more of us had shown up to that evening assemble there would have been enough healthy minds in one room to scorn this policy right away. Too late to say now. It's all fun and games to complain about it all, but we should have been there voting and doing something about it; victimisation is often a tactic to avoid being held to account for something, and no vote sometimes is a vote too.
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