Home News ‘The Link’ targeted by petition

‘The Link’ targeted by petition

by The Concordian January 31, 2001
A group called the Link Accountability and Democracy Committee (LADC) said it has gathered more than 500 names in a petition calling for major changes to the way The Link is operated.
The Link, one of Concordia’s independent student weekly newspapers, went on the offensive against the petition in its latest issue. It also reported that constant pressures from the student union threatened its independence.
The LADC wants new elections for the Link’s editorial staff, ready access to financial and budget documents and easier qualifications to become a voting member of the newspaper, according to the preamble of the petition.
These demands are inspired by the Link’s own constitution, said former Link contributor Linda Charbonneau. She is also one of the three founders of the LADC.
Charbonneau said she could only speak about her own dealings with the newspaper, which led to the creation of the committee.
She was dissatisfied with the way her articles about the Middle East conflict were handled by the newspaper, adding that she found the newspaper to be biased.
All internal avenues to resolve the problem have been exhausted, and this was the only way left to get her point across, she added.
“Now they’re at it again, printing a one-sided story [about the petition]. Do you think people [who have a problem] are going to step up and tell you what their problem is?”
The Link’s editor in chief, Ariel Troster, said the petition was a clear attack on the student press at Concordia.
“This is a threat to student newspapers and it is serious. In the commercial press, you cannot threaten the existence of the newspaper if you’re not happy about something. This is what is happening now. It’s ridiculous.”
She said the selection and editing of stories are part of a newspaper’s job.
“There were no problems with our editorial guidelines until is was applied to [those who are circulating the petition],” Troster said.
Troster would not comment on problems between the Link and Charbonneau because they are of an internal nature. But she said Charbonneau refused to write stories which were unrelated to the Middle East conflict.
Troster also disagreed with the demands in the petition, adding that the newspaper’s constitution has been misinterpreted.
The Link is an independent incorporated non-profit entity, so financial and business records are not accessible under Quebec law, Troster said.
Most undergraduates pay fees to the Link and and can vote to change the newspaper’s by-laws or view its finances during the annual general meeting. But only members students can make editorial decisions, which is why the rules to
become a staff member should not be relaxed, she said.
“At the end of last year, were had over 30 staff and more than 100 contributors,” Troster said.
She said this showed how accessible the Link is to the Concordia community.
Troster also said the CSU was actively involved in creating the petition.
“We’ve been under pressure from the student union to cover things the way they want it covered. There have been verbal and written threats. The tone of the petition follows the lines of those threats,” Troster said.
Students are paying fees to a student newspaper, not a newsletter or a mouthpiece, she added.
CSU president Rob Green said the union had no official position on the petition.
“No executive has signed the petition. No motion has been passed by council,” Green said.
“We’re not backing this petition. If we’re angry at the [student] newspapers, we write letters or maybe put up some posters.”
Green also said the CSU did not encourage the creation of an anti-Link petition and asked for the Link to substantiate its claims to the contrary.

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