headlines of hate
The motion passed by City University students accused the newspapers of fueling racial tension and hatred in society.

The City University London Students' Union have passed a motion to ban the Sun, Daily Mail and Express, saying that they have "no place" on the university campuses or properties in their current form.

The motion, titled "Opposing Fascism & Social Divisiveness in the UK Media", was voted by a majority of the annual general meeting attended by 182 students, less than 1% of the 19500-strong student body, on 17 November.

The motion also proposes to promote and fund activities "pressuring the aforementioned media outlets to cease to fuel fascism, racial tension and hatred in society" as to "unite with other student bodies, community organisations, and businesses, to bring about a tangible change in the way the UK's media operate."

The proponents of the motion accuse the newspapers of "scapegoating" the working classes, of publishing sexist and Islamophobic stories, and of promoting the views of "far right leaders and mouthpieces" who "should have no place in the mainstream media". They believe instead that the media "has a duty not to stir up racial tensions and hatred just to sell papers."

The students' union motion follows recent efforts from the campaigning group Stop Funding Hate pressuring businesses such as Waitrose, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer to stop advertising with the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express. Following lobbying from the campaign, the Danish toymaker Lego recently announced it would no longer run promotional giveaways with the Daily Mail, which called three high court judges involved in the legal ruling on Brexit "enemies of the people" in a headline published on 4 November.

City University London
City University, London Michael Woodhead

The kind of form the ban will take on the City University campus remains unclear. The students' union president Yusuf Ahmad said in a statement "The Union is currently unaware of any outlets on campus selling the mentioned media publications. As with all motions, the Union will be considering how it implements this."

Not all students supported the motions. "The students in the class I was teaching today were furious and understandably so at gesture politics from a fraction of the student body," said George Brock, former head of City's journalism department and current lecturer. He added: "They understand that the answer to journalism that you may not like is to do the journalism better."

Proving that the best way to make something popular is to ban it, some students have already found ways to defy the ban.

Broadcast journalism student Sophia Smith Galer launched a petition against the ban, describing it "an affront to freedom of expression for students who wish to access these opinions and voice their objections."

Other journalists also condemned the Student Union decision. Sunday Times journalist Camilla Long branded the motion as "100% pathetic".

Financial Times journalist Sebastian Payne called the decision "abhorrent", but he said he was not as comfortable branding it as "fascism" as a Ukip statement issues to the press on 18 November does.

Ukip's press release, titled "Fascism is as Fascism does", read : "Winston Churchill famously said: 'The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.'" While this quote is often attributed to Churchill, there is actually no evidence he ever uttered it.

Contacted by IBTimes UK about the issue, a Ukip spokesman admitted the mistake. "It should have read 'supposed to have said'", he wrote.