The free speech debacle has been a sore topic with me for a while – yes, I believe we all have a right to our voices and opinions, but no, I don’t think you should use your voice and opinion to be a dick to other people.
The issue is that the definition of “being a dick” to someone is, perhaps, different for someone else, leading to a whole array of complicated offences and miscommunications that hurt my brain. This tends to be why I rarely say anything controversial; the last thing I ever want to do is offend someone.
But when the student union of one of the universities in Plymouth (Plymouth University, to be precise) bans the sale of newspapers in their student shop… I suddenly find myself on the side of free speech, as a liberal and as a journalism student.
The papers in question were the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express. Although I firmly do not believe in the things these media outlets say, like at all, the outright banning of these papers stifles debate.
It looks like the smothering of any possibly differing views in favour of left wing ideology, which is exactly what the more conservative among us fear already!
Luckily, the student union here at Marjon and I are on the same page; in a statement released, Marjon SU announced they will “not be banning the sale of these newspapers” but will, as a response, be “banning the sale of orange juice with bits.”
But at least Marjon SU hosted a twitter poll regarding the decision. Plymouth Uni didn’t consult their students and, as you probably could have guessed, didn’t get a very good reaction; one literally commented “this is bad.”
I don’t know. As much as am a left-wing, liberal hipster, I don’t think banning right-wing news is the right way to go. Meaningful conversation about views you disagree with (on both sides of the argument) is more likely to change someone’s mind than… say… not allowing them those views in the first place.