The students’ union of City University in London last night passed a motion apparently seeking to ban The Sun, Daily Mail and Express newspaper titles from the campus.
The motion was passed at the union’s annual general meeting.
City University has one of the biggest journalism departments in the UK with a variety of post graduate and undergraduate journalism courses available.
It is unclear what the impact of the motion will be as Press Gazette understands there are no retail outlets for newspapers on the campus.
The resolution states that there is “no place for the Sun, Daily Mail or Express (In their current form) on City, University of London campuses or properties”.
It says the Union should also “use the University’s industry contacts to reach out to employees and shareholders of the media outlets in question”. And it states it should “provide the resources and meeting space needed to organise direct action, online and social media campaigns”.
One City University undergraduate, Jack Fenwick, told Press Gazette: “As a journalism student I’m really worried that I’m now a member of an organisation whose official policy is to ban national newspapers.
“If people don’t agree with these publications, they should be holding debates, not pretending they don’t exist. I have already emailed the chief executive of the Students’ Union asking to opt out of my membership with them as I’m simply not comfortable being part of a group that holds such views.”
Head of journalism at City University Professor Suzanne Franks said: “City’s Department of Journalism is regarded as a leader in its field, with an unrivalled record of helping graduates secure attractive employment in both traditional and emerging journalist roles.
“We combine professional skills training with a concern for professional standards and the importance of fair, impartial and ethical reporting is at the heart of our courses.
“Students on our journalism courses value being able to access the views of publications and broadcasters across the industry and the department will continue to enable all these opportunities.”
The motion passed last night was headed: “Opposing Facism [sic] & Social Divisiveness in the UK Media”.
It states: “The motion focuses on three UK newspapers. This does not exclude other media organisations from this motion. These were merely used as high profile examples.”
And it reads as follows:
This Union Notes:
- The Daily Mail, The Sun and the Express have published stories that demonise refugees and minorities (Further evidence available).
- The Express and Daily Mail called 3 high court judges enemies of the people, mirroring Nazi propaganda and undermining the rule of law in the UK.
- The Sun took 23 years to apologise for its role in the Hillsborough Disaster and still refuses to apologise for its demonising of miners at the Battle of Orgreave.
- The Sun, Express and Daily Mail have posted Islamophobiac stories:
This Union Believes:
- The Sun, Express and Daily Mail all actively scapegoat the working classes they so proudly claim to represent. They consistently print stories about benefit scroungers despite government figures showing that less than 1% of the benefits budget is fraudulently claimed annually. (Evidence available)
- The Daily Mail, Sun and Express publish stories that are sexist. (Further evidence available)
- That freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to attack the weakest and poorest members of society.
- That the media has a duty not to stir up racial tensions and hatred just to sell papers.
- That editors and owners of media outlets should be held accountable for inciting hatred, just as other members of society are.
- That far right leaders and mouthpieces such as Nigel Farage, Richard LittleJohn and Katie Hopkins should have no place in the mainstream media.
- The Daily Mail, Sun and Express publish stories that are inherently sexist.
This Union Resolves:
- That there is no place for the Sun, Daily Mail or Express (In their current form) on City, University of London campuses or properties.
- To promote, amongst City students, the active pressuring of the aforementioned media outlets to cease to fuel fascism, racial tension and hatred in society.
- To unite with other student bodies, community organisations, and businesses, to bring about a tangible change in the way the UK’s media operate.
- To use the University’s industry contacts to reach out to employees and shareholders of the media outlets in question.
- To provide the resources and meeting space needed to organise direct action, online and social media campaigns.