SU President candidates sign pledge agreeing to a free press

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The five candidates competing for the Students’ Union Presidency have signed a pledge in favour of a free press at the University.

The pledge will give the Editor-in-Chief of bathimpact the ultimate decision on the tone and editorial position of the paper.

In practice, the SU President oversees the media at the University of Bath, giving final sign-off to all articles. This has raised concerns in the past over separating the student newspaper from the Students’ Union itself.

Now, however, the Students’ Union can only hold up articles if they commit libel, slander, are factually incorrect or fail to offer the ‘right of reply’ to any institutions, groups or individuals criticised.

This means that, as long as articles offer representation to all parties involved, the student media will be free to criticise both the University of Bath and the Students’ Union.

This is a continuation of the relationship developed between the bathimpact and the Students’ Union this year.

Matthew Powell, Editor-in-Chief of bathimpact, said on the pledge: “It is vital for the student newspaper to investigate, criticise and hold to account the institutions they work within whilst maintaining good journalistic ethics. This pledge is a step in the right direction.”

bathimpact was also mentioned briefly at Monday’s Presidential debates, when all five canidates stated they would shut the paper down if they had to choose between the three media groups, stating that bathimpact could continue online without a print version.

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Benjamin is the former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of bathimpact and covers stories on University of Bath, University of Bath Students' Union, Bath politics and student issues

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