News - October 19, 2006

Freedom of the press

The mailman has been delivering the Resource for a few weeks now (at least to the Idealis buildings), and meanwhile it has become clearer what the change from Wb to Resource comes down to. Even the national press noticed that the freedom of press of the editors has been restricted (NRC, 20 September and NRC-next, 26 September). Not only does an employee of Corporate Communication attend all the meetings of the editors, the angle and timing of organisational news is also being directed.

We think that this development is highly undesirable. Students, researchers and employees who feel connected to the developments of Wageningen UR are entitled to independent and open news coverage, including coverage of organisational issues. Wageningen UR belongs to students and employees, just as it belongs to the Executive Board.

The fact that the discussion about news and organisational items can be held on the intranet does not justify the changes. Besides the fact that intranet is nowhere to be found yet, Corporate Communication is going to take care of the reporting. It is unclear to what extent this will be about showing a perfect picture of WUR. Moreover, we wonder why organisational news has to be ‘hidden away’ on the intranet; what does the Executive Board fear?

Discussion and a critical view are part and parcel of an institute of higher education. An independent newspaper can contribute to a climate in which this is stimulated and is therefore something to be proud of and to keep up. Censorship is patronising and an insult to the reader.