As the 2018–2019 Southam Journalism Fellows at Massey College, we would like to join those who have expressed concern about the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) decision to establish a committee that would decide which journalists are permitted to cover student union meetings.
It is a basic tenet of democratic life that governments must not have the power to decide who covers public affairs. In moving to regulate media coverage, the SCSU is following the worst impulses of government to interfere with the media’s vital role in holding public institutions to account.
What we find particularly alarming is that while the SCSU accuses campus media outlets of “reporting falsely on what the Board of Directors have done,” it will not state specifically which coverage it finds objectionable.
This leads us to worry that the SCSU objects to public scrutiny in general, and not any reporting in particular. If the SCSU has problems with the coverage it receives, it can point out errors, ask for corrections, and give more interviews to help reporters understand the SCSU’s point of view.
We support our colleagues in the student media and we join the Canadian Association of Journalists in calling on the SCSU to immediately disband its unnecessary, unjust, and undemocratic committee to regulate journalists.
Lagu Joseph Kenyi