On Thursday, students at the City University of London voted to ban the tabloid newspapers The Sun, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Express from the campus. The move is part of a motion called “opposing fascism and social divisiveness in the UK media”, and is perhaps even more significant since the university is home to what is apparently one of the UK’s most respected journalism schools.
Now, I’m not really a fan of tabloid newspapers myself, and I even classified them as hatemongers in a recent article, however, I don’t think that banning them is the right move.
If you don’t like tabloid newspapers, you don’t have to read them, but I don’t think anybody has the right to force censorship upon others. After all, you’re then setting a precedent that says censorship of the media is acceptable, as long as the majority vote for it.
Think about that for a minute in the context of recent World events.
Would it be okay for Donald Trump supporters in the US to vote to ban any media publications that support gun control, climate change awareness, or abortion as part of a motion called “opposing the destruction of core American values”?
If the majority vote for it then it’s okay, isn’t it?
After that, why not just burn all the science text books?
All tabloid newspapers are really doing is reflecting the thoughts of many people in the country, so isn’t it better to put our efforts into changing the mindset of those people, rather than just trying to silence them?
It’s true that tabloid newspapers often appeal to the lowest common denominator, and attempt to stir up the masses to support their own agendas, but removing the voice doesn’t remove the underlying feeling. That’s just getting the whole thing backwards.
It reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where a meteor is on a collision course with Springfield. Once the threat is over, a mob of torch-wielding townsfolk say, “Let’s burn down the observatory, so this will never happen again!”
Don’t burn down the observatory, it can warn you when a threat is coming. In the same way, tabloid newspapers can give you an insight into the way other people view the World. You don’t have to like them, you don’t have to read them, but put your efforts into changing the minds of the readers, rather than just trying to silence them.