By ANDREW TERRY
The Current Editor
In Grand Island, Nebraska a local high school newspaper was shut down by school administration after publishing an edition dedicated to queer issues with two columns dedicated to the topic.
Journalists have been facing increasing hostility over the past few years in all parts of the world for covering controversial topics including queer issues. Attacks on the free press at any level leave people in power with essentially free reign to engage in corruption and gross overreaches of power.
Independent and ethical journalism is the backbone of any democracy. Further than that, journalists raise awareness on all types of issues that community members may not have known about without press attention. Student journalists should not be required to pander to the interests of the school they are in. Student publications are not the voice of the institution, their purpose is to report on those institutions and, in order to do that, they must remain independent. Censoring student journalists is not only pathetic, but it is an attack on one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy.
Journalists have always been an inconvenience to people who wish to control the flow of information, and they will continue to be. The censorship of information regarding queer topics is nothing new of course. Books on transgender medicine were among the first the Nazi’s burned, but it is not 1940 nor Nazi Germany. All over the country queer literature is being banned from school libraries. The First Amendment exists to protect all citizens equally.
Student journalists are journalists. They are equally as vulnerable to libel lawsuits as any other journalist, similarly they are protected by the same laws as any other journalist. If the Washington Post’s parent company disagreed with something they published and shut them down because of it there would be massive public outrage. Student journalists provide a voice to the student body and they deserve the same protections as any other journalist.