Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 14. 1966.
Forum yet again
Forum yet again
Sir, In his letter of September 9 concerning Forum Mr Haas defended the press and attacked executive, with his usual subtlety and imagination. While he agrees with the reason given for passing the motion banning the press from Forum he argues that it will make outside reporting of Forum more, not less, likely and in addition give the executive a power of censorship over Salient. I will deal with these points separately.
As to the first, it is common knowledge (I heard it from Mr. Haas) that the editor of the Evening Post has undertaken to respect the ban. It is difficult to imagine the staid Dominion encouraging its reporters to trespass illegally to obtain news of only marginal interest to its readers. Most out of town papers show little interest in what students think and are unlikely to have reporters in turn. That leaves Truth which while it may or may not be kept away by a ban would not be encouraged by me. I would point out also that no paper has in fact broken the ban.
As to the statement that the motion "leaves the association newspaper open to a form of censorship" by executive this might be true but only to a very marginal degree. All the present executive believe, as does Mr. Haas, that the right to speak one's mind without fear of the consequences is important in a university. Forum, to us, is a place where people should be free to express views, even irresponsible views, without fearing that what they say will be reported. It is almost inconceivable that any Salient editor would consider infringing in the narrowing area of free speech in our student community, by reporting speakers in Forum against their will. But if it should happen. I, at least, would feel obliged to try and do something about it.
There is one further point which requires clearing up. Because of the way it is phrased, and I am sure this was unintentional. Mr Haas's letter seems to say that the motion passed gives executive the right to censor any article in Salient which refers to a subject mentioned in Forum. This was not the intention, has not been the case up to date, and will not be in the future.
In conclusion I would summarise my personal position as being one of respect for the freedom of the press but even greater respect for the freedom of the individual—
House Committee Chairman