Friday, February 10, 2006

Gone down the memory hole

I never did get a copy of The Cadre into my possession, as the UPEI student union asserted their ownership rights over this week's issue:

A copy editor at The Cadre, Rob Walker, said he was called into the office of the general manager of the student union, Heather Love, on Friday afternoon. "[I] was told, on the advice of their lawyers, I should be told a number of things. Primarily, the paper was actually owned by the student union, and they demanded its return, and if it wasn't returned they would contact the police," Walker says.

Ray Keating did not intend to offend, but wanted people to be able to have an informed discussion:
"The message really has been that we want people to be able to have an effective discourse on the issue, and we felt that people wouldn't be able to have an effective discourse without actually seeing the original cartoons."

Here's an excerpt from the SU's statement:

[...]it is now apparent that we must take into account the overwhelming reaction that these cartoons have caused worldwide and therefore we must react accordingly. It is also to be noted that there is a great deal of sensitivity involved with this contentious issue, a fact personified by the recent outrage and riots that were sparked in direct result of the publication of these cartoons.

So, it appears that the student union shares the view that cartoonists caused the violent riots (rather than the Islamofascist fundamentalists) and that our reaction should be self-censorship - not a defense of free speech.

The SU is within their rights, as the student government owns the paper. However, this ownership is via the students whose mandatory fees fund The Cadre. Once hired, the newspaper staff normally have editorial control - independent of the student government. Threatening to involve the police to repossess the student newspaper is an extreme step.

It is great to see that the SU has reversed one decision, though. Whether due to student pressure, national media coverage, or a realization of the obvious, the student union has reopened debate about the cartoon issue on UPEI weblogs.


At 12:09 PM, Blogger frappeur said...

Here's a cartoon from Small Dead Animals:

At 10:52 PM, Blogger frappeur said...

The link didn't work.
Here is the address again.

I hope this works when you copy and paste it. You may have to copy the whole comment to Notepad in order to extract the link.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Pat said...

I wonder if anyone else was as shocked as I was by the eagerness of UPEI students to insist, in these letters to the Cadre, that their student newspaper had no right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press?

And see this CBC story, "Human rights lawyer calls on media to print Muhammad cartoons": 060208.html


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