News - November 30, 2011

SP stands up for university newsletters

SP cabinet member Jasper van Dijk will ask state secretary Zijlstra during education funding time on Wednesday to legislate the autonomy of the media in universities and applied sciences universities.

Last week, the Nijmegen students' newsletter ANS reported that the editorial team of the Nijmegen university newsletter 'Vox' had been subjected to censorship. An article containing students' opinions concerning the Academic Integrity Committee's report on Roos Vonk was not allowed to be published on the online news platform 'RUnieuws'.
'Too sad for words,' says cabinet member Van Dijk, who has media in his portfolio, in addition to higher education. He had already asked Zijlstra before the summer if journalistic autonomy in newsletters in university and applied sciences universities ought to be given more protection. At that time, the Radboud University news site was placed behind a page which required logging in. Zijlstra's answer then was that institutions have to take responsibility for such matters themselves. Van Dijk: 'I wonder how many more reports about censure have to be brought forward before we start to do something. The attitude of some administrators is completely out of harmony with press freedom and the critical atmosphere to which universities are willing to be exposed to.'
If Van Dijk cannot get Zijlstra's attention, he will submit a motion. 'I think that Zijlstra will find this creepy. The question then will be whether the Second Chamber dares to take further steps. I think that most parties will sympathize with the applied sciences university and university media and I hope that they are now willing to push this through. The government has to stand up for journalistic autonomy.'