18 July 2018 • HOP, Bas Belleman
Furious about ‘censorship’ at Saxion
Is an article about the Armenian genocide too sensitive for publication in a university of applied sciences newspaper? Members of the Second Chamber are furious that a student of the Saxion University of Applied Sciences was prevented from sharing her story.
Shayno Numansen travelled to Turkey and made a documentary about the Armenian genocide that occurred at the beginning of the last century. Victims of the genocide included numerous members of her family. Shayno has an Aramaic and Chaldean background. But after returning to the Netherlands, the topic turned out to be a touchy subject for Sax, the school paper at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. Due to safety concerns, the paper opted not to publish an interview with her, she told the daily newspaper De Telegraaf claiming that the topic is too sensitive for the Turkish community.
Her accusation cause quite a commotion. Representatives of the VVD and CDA parties have announced written questions The Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (national organisation for university student councils) emphasised freedom of the press at Saxion University of Applied Sciences that discontinued its independent newspaper in March. The school spokesperson confirmed to the regional daily paper, Tubantia, that security considerations were involved: “I consider that a legitimate reason. Publication in the first few months of 2018 could very well have resulted in a violent reaction. At that time, there was a political debate about the genocide, and it was election time for the city council.”
But in its written declaration, the Executive Board of the university of applied sciences announced regret about the ‘impression’ that the news had generated. The freedom of speech should never be called into question, claimed the members of the board. “It is evident that the safety of our students is extremely important. However, it may not be a reason not to publish an article. That decision is to be made by the student personally, in this case Shayno.”
The article that was blocked can now be read online in De Stentor. An article about her documentary has also been posted on the school’s intranet, which is not accessible to outsiders. A recently published press release states that the Executive Board at Saxion plans to invite Numansen to meet with them. In the meantime, the former student is working on a new documentary about the reaction that her documentary elicited in the Netherlands.