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Charlie Hebdo, Sun, Star and lads’ among titles banned from sale at 32 UK universities, research finds

By Dominic Ponsford

Certain newspapers and magazines are banned from sale at 32 universities around the UK, according to research by the website Spiked.

It uncovered the apparent censorship as part of a piece of research for the 2016 University Free Speech rankings.

The bans are all imposed by student union bodies and mainly appear to be due to concern about the depiction of women in publications.

Some 28 universities ban the Daily Star and/or The Sun, according to the research. In most cases both titles are banned, meaning they are not available in university newsagents.

According to Spiked most bans were inspired by the No More Page Three campaign against topless photographs appearing in The Sun. The News UK title stopped showing topless photos on page three in January last year, but the Daily Star continues the practice.

According to Spiked, four universities banned ‘Lads’ Mags’, although with the closure of Zoo and FHM at the end of last year it is unclear what magazines remain in that category to ban.

The research reveals that Bristol and Manchester universities also ban French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The title has provoked outrage from many Muslims because of its depiction of the prophet Muhammad.

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Aberystwyth University students’ union has banned the Daily Express, apparently in protest at the titles’ coverage of travellers.

According to Spiked, most UK universities have some form of censorship. It reports that 20 have banned clubs or societies and 19 have banned speakers.

Some 39 per cent have “no platform” policies, which are often used to stop those with racist or extreme right wing views from speaking at events.

The research found that 21 per cent have “safe space” policies, which can be used to impose broader bans on speakers or events which some students may find offensive.

University The Sun/ Daily Star Lads' mags Daily Express Charlie Hebdo
Aberdeen    x    
Abertay  x      
Aberystwyth  x   x  
Birmingham City  x      
Bournemouth    x    
Bristol        x
Cambridge  x      
Cardiff  x      
Dundee  x      
Edinburgh  x      
Leeds Beckett  x      
Leeds FSUR  x      
LSE  x      
Manchester  x     x
Newcastle  x      
Nottingham  x      
Sheffield  x      
Staffordshire  x      
Swansea    x    
Manchester Metropolitan x      
Nottingham Trent x      
Bradford  x      
East Anglia x      
Essex x      
Hull x      
Leicester  x      
Sunderland  x      
University College London  x      
Chester  x      
Lancaster x x    
Warwick  x      
York St John University  x      


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