Censorship Battle Ensues

By Geisha Bar

I was listening to Triple J Hack the other night and heard a crazy little thing regarding student media censorship. As a student myself, naturally my ears pricked up!

The University of Otago, in Dunedin, New Zealand, has just come under fire for censorship of the student magazine, Critic. Critic (which isn’t owned by the University, rather by the Otago University Student’s Association, a separate entity) published a graphic cover showing a pixelated image of a person menstruating. To be fair, it was quite confrontational, but didn’t actually break any media cover taboos in the process. The magazine issue itself was aiming to open up dialogue about menstruation, which is something that affects a pretty decent portion of the population, hence the controversial cover image.

Unbeknownst to Critic, the University had hundreds of copies removed from stands and destroyed, an act that has seen a bunch of backpedalling from the University (who has now issued an unreserved apology to Critic editor Joel MacManus and the Critic editorial team). This was an act of censorship without just cause, taking the completely wrong avenue to deal with the issue. A result of this incident, however, is the worldwide media storm it has created, with many other university students around the world voicing their solidarity.

Protesters marched on the University of Otago Clocktower on Friday, and demanded a censorship-free campus, with other rallies supposedly being organised to occur soon around the country.

It just goes to show what one little mistake can do to a bunch of students who are fed up with the system!