University of York student group York Liberty has published a survey on perceptions of press censorship among members of media societies.
They found that 64 per cent of respondents believed that censorship is present. 57 per cent of respondents said they had experienced censorship, of which 62 per cent claimed to have encountered it more than once. The study also included testimonies from anonymous individual student journalists.
79 per cent believed student media should have editorial independence from YUSU, while only 28 per cent believed that the YUSU 2015 Media Charter empowers York’s student media. All respondents agreeed that student media should be able to critically analyse the actions of elected sabbatical and Part-Time officers.
However, with a total 14 respondents, some have questionted the survey’s validity. YUSU Activites Officer Alex Lusty said: “YUSU has always, and will always support the freedom of ratified media, and as a former editor of a student media outlet I believe suggestions otherwise are either misinformed or misrepresented. While we support freedom of the press to the fullest extent, all ratified media is owned by YUSU and therefore checked before printing to ensure it’s compliant with the law. Professionally trained YUSU staff are responsible for this, and act not in opposition to Media Editors but in cooperation with them. This is not censorship, it’s professional advice and is one of many ways in which we support our media. While we respect the views of the 14 students who participated in the survey, we must also take into account our responsibility to the other 754 paid members of media societies and the other 17 000 students on campus.”
The survey was sent to the editors of Nouse, York Vision, The Lemon Press, HARD Magazine, and Circulation, while respondents came from Nouse, York Vision and The Lemon Press. Of the respondents, there was an equal divide between past and present members.
York Liberty describes itself as “a society pushing for greater transparency and accountability on campus, while also campaigning for the protection of free expression.”