Campus Progress Calls on University of Georgia Student Newspaper Board to Prevent Censorship
Washington D.C. — Today, Campus Progress is urging the board of directors of The Red & Black, the student-run newspaper at the University of Georgia since 1893, to respect and reaffirm the independence and freedom of the newspaper run by and created for the students. Polina Marinova, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, resigned and led a walkout of the paper’s staff this week following increased interference by the newspaper’s board of directors in the content it can publish.
Marinova, in a statement, said the publication has hired “more than 10 permanent staff with veto power over students’ decisions” in recent weeks. “The newspaper has always been a student-run operation, but recently, we began feeling serious pressure from people who were not students.” She also noted that in a draft of “expectations of editorial director” The Red & Black’s Board of Directors stated the publication needs a balance of good and bad. The draft directs that “bad” practices include producing “content that catches people or organizations doing bad things.” The board added: “I guess this is ‘journalism.’ If in question, have more GOOD than BAD.”
Anne Johnson, Director of Campus Progress, released the following statement:
Young Americans know that one of the things that make this country great is the value we place on the freedom of the press. Our democracy functions best when its citizens are informed and those in power are held accountable by the press.
Some of America’s best journalists got their start writing and working for their college publications and when board members attempt to stifle the voice of the students, it sends a chilling message and sets a dangerous precedent.
Today’s student journalists will be the ones to shine a light on tomorrow’s wrongs and injustices—and we need to support them, not hold them back. Freedom of the press starts with the student-run newspapers on campuses around the country. As an organization that supports and funds college media outlets, Campus Progress calls on the Board of Directors to reaffirm the publication’s autonomy and independence by leaving editorial control in the students’ hands.