After McGill University students voted in favour of renewing financial support for the McGill Daily, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is urging university administrators to make continued funding contingent upon the independent, student-run publication’s “full compliance with journalistic ethics.”
A year ago, the Daily confirmed what many pro-Israel students had long suspected: that it “maintains an editorial line of not publishing pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any ideology which we consider oppressive.”
In an online referendum held from Nov. 13-17, 65 per cent of students voted in favour of renewing a memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the Students’ Society of McGill University and the Daily Publication Society (DPS), which publishes both the Daily and Le Délit, a French-language campus newspaper.
The referendum was preceded by spirited campaigns for and against the renewal.
As with any independent student group that benefits from a compulsory levy on student fees, the DPS’s MoA must be put to a referendum every five years.
“The profoundly biased and discriminatory editorial line of Daily grossly encroaches on the most elemental of journalistic ethics,” stated CIJA Quebec co-chair Rabbi Reuben Poupko. “It further violates the freedom of expression of students and blatantly infringes on both McGill University’s and Quebec’s political culture of democratic pluralism.”
As a result of the referendum’s outcome, the university administration now has to negotiate a new MoA with the DPS. CIJA says this is an opportunity to “correct this intolerable injustice” by demanding that the Daily adhere to “universally recognized journalistic ethics,” such as those outlined in the Quebec Press Council’s guide.
Speaking for the No side, Andrew Figueiredo told the McGill Tribune that, “My main concern is that students are currently forced to pay for a paper that has been exclusionary, unaccountable and divisive. My number one reason in calling for a No vote is because I believe that students should be empowered to demand changes in the DPS and to control where their money goes.”