Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Advocating for Free Speech and Student Journalism in the Face of Censorship

I want to start with a message to OUSD about advocating and communicating with Oakland Tech to remove my article, “Israel’s Violations of International Law: A Closer Look at Apartheid, Settlements, and Ongoing Humanitarian Concerns.” The lack of professional communication made me feel disrespected. As of today, I am still awaiting a reason as to why my article was taken down on February 9th. I believe in the power of students using platforms to speak up about the injustices that they see. It disheartens me to be in a situation at school where I was unable to express myself freely. I was censored while trying to educate my peers about the ongoing genocide in Palestine because it was deemed “too political” and it was advised to be taken down (for “safety reasons”). I want to emphasize the importance of promoting an environment where students can speak and write freely about global issues without fear of censorship. 

I was contacted by our Scribe Editor and Chief about the negative comments regarding my article claiming that I, the writer, have “no journalistic ethics.” The comments included claims that our school’s student editor and faculty advisor should be under immediate administrative review. They claimed we were anti-Semitic and reported us to the ADL, Anti-Defamation League, which is an organization tracking hate crimes against Jewish people. My article showed factual truths about the conditions that Palestinians had to face. References from articles are from reputable news platforms such as the UN, Al Jazeera, and CNN. I wrote, “Israel’s Violations of International Law: A Closer Look at Apartheid, Settlements, and Ongoing Humanitarian Concerns,” to put out a message that the oppression of the Palestinian people is not something recent. I wanted to update students drawing from my past articles on Palestine and some of its history. 

I am still seeking to understand the real reason behind what I see as censorship. Although I see why OUSD would want to remove my name for my “own safety,” I still feel unsettled because I wrote multiple articles about Palestine but that wasn’t a concern until this article. I hope this situation doesn’t happen in the future for our next Scribe writers. Even more, I strongly encourage students to write and advocate about issues that they care about, regardless of the possible backlash or negative feedback that may come, and to take advantage of the platforms that they have to educate others.

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