November 26, 2013

A student culture of censorship

I've already written before about Northern Ireland and Ireland's historical (here, here, here, here, and here) and modern impulse (here, here, here and here) to censor. I've also posted here about the need for Britain to enact speech laws like those allowed under the First Amendent in the United States. The editor of The Northern Slant Connor Daly (@cdaly29) wrote here about a "culture of censorship" among student bodies. A trend he called dangerous. He said:
"Student unions have a proud history of welcoming forward thinkers and instigating progressive movements. A culture of censorship, however, is neither forward thinking nor progressive. Rather than advise and educate members, this culture demands that others adhere to the standards and activities that certain groups consider appropriate. It misses the wider point; making scapegoats through piecemeal tactics rather than constructively tackling issues head on. 
When attitudes and actions are offensive it is important to right these wrongs, to encourage a new culture of tolerance, or be it zero tolerance. At the same time it is crucial to send out the right message; a reassurance and willingness to change things for the better, not to ban things with no real end game in sight. Defining ourselves by what we are against and sweeping controversial events or otherwise under the carpet is unproductive. Such tactics may raise awareness, but the issues will persist as will this fondness for censorship."
The editor of The Belfast Telegraph Mike Gilson, who slapped down proposals to regulate the press here, gave his take on the ban here:
"No-one can defend its lyrics which could be interpreted as promoting a rape culture. But it is not the only song, book or magazine which could be viewed in that light. 
Bans smack of totalitarianism. Once anyone sets off down that road it can be difficult to stop and the people who were once praised for acting with the best of intentions would then stand accused of limiting free speech. The lines, suddenly, become very blurred indeed."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...