Campus Officials Shut Down Broadcast of Students Protesting Newspaper Ban

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By Benedict Spence | 5:27 am, December 8, 2016

Student officials shut down a live broadcast that showed free-speech activists protesting against a campus newspaper ban.

Members of the students’ union at Queen Mary University of London threatened to expel the Free Speech Society from a debate on the ban if they did not stop filming.

The union voted on Tuesday to ban three national newspapers – the Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Sun – from being sold on campus, prompting a backlash and accusations of censorship.

And during the fractious meeting – pictured above – union officials intimidated students into ending their filming of the event, which was generating online opposition from students not in the room.

The students were told that the police could be called to forcibly end the “off-putting” broadcast – even though it is not against any laws or university rules.

Emily Dinsmore, a Queen Mary student and member of the Free Speech society, told Heat Street: “It was all a bit melodramatic. Students said it made them feel uncomfortable being filmed. One said that the council should call the police.”

The council meeting – where students were told to use “jazz-hands” instead of clapping to avoid triggering their peers –  saw 13 students vote for the motion, while 3 opposed it and 10 abstained.

Outlawing newspapers has become a favoured activity for student bureaucrats – the vote makes Queen Mary the 33rd British institution to pass a ban.

In a statement, the Student Union said: “as a union we strive to support all students. This includes ensuring refugees, migrants and other marginalised groups feel welcome.”

It is unclear whether supporters of free speech are considered a marginalised group.

Featured image via Emily Dinsmore