Uni gags satire mag in free speech clampdown
Satirical newspaper Edinburgh Flipside forced to take down article supposedly causing offence.
A new satirical newspaper at Edinburgh was gagged by the University after they upset the president of the United Nations Youth society.
Flipside magazine was forced to remove an article entitled ‘UNAEY takes shits for South Sudan’, which mocked the work of the society.
UNAEY’s president Apurv Gupta took offence to the article and leant on the University, who demanded Flipside pulled it down.
The joke article suggested the society were going to simultaneously “evacuate their bowels” in honour of the Sudanese people.
When Gupta read the post, he asked for the article to be retracted, claiming in an email to Flipside that it upset both him and his family.
He wrote: “As an academic and scholar of the English language, I applaud your team for a very well written article but as the President of United Nations Associations Youth Edinburgh and now the Youth President of United Nations Association United Kingdom, I personally feel it to be an insult to my team and whatever we are pursuing in our mission to create a more ‘stronger, credible and efficient United Nations’.”
But Flipside’s editors refused to back down, and Gupta contacted the University.
Katherine Novosel from Edinburgh Court Services intervened, demanding it was removed. In an email seen by The Tab, she wrote: “We respect that there is a long tradition of satirical publications within Universities and freedom of speech is central to the ethos of the University.
“However, when satire steps over the boundary of good taste and into the realm of defamation, the University will take action.”
Gupta told The Tab: “The about section of Edinburgh Flipside at the time claimed it was The University of Edinburgh’s first satire publication therefore I contacted the university regarding the said article and the matter was settled by the university.”
Flipside Editor, Sarah Manavis said: “The reason why we took the article down was because we are just trying to get on our feet and become a EUSA society, and we didn’t want to be in a bad place with the University.”
The satirical newspaper will continue to publish, and Manavis added: “we do expect to try to get the article published once again once we are fully settled.”