Irate local says her council is acting like 'a communist country' by banning magazines like New Idea and Woman’s Day for not reflecting its values.
Irate local says her council is acting like 'a communist country' by banning magazines like New Idea and Woman’s Day for not reflecting its values.

A library has banned ‘toxic and negative’ gossip mags

An eastern suburbs council has banned three top-selling gossip magazines from its library, claiming they "promote a toxic and negative narrative".

Burnside Council is under fire for removing Woman's Day, New Idea and Who from the shelves, with some users accusing it of censorship.

The three publications are renowned for their coverage of celebrity gossip, the royal family, reality TV shows and entertainment news ... but have also been accused of manufacturing stories and exploiting celebrities.

The council's group manager of community connections, Fairlie Taylor, had put notices in empty spots on its magazine rack previously occupied by the magazines.

"The City of Burnside places our community's mental health at the forefront, as well as setting a standard of respectful behaviours in our community," said Ms Taylor's notice.

"We have therefore removed magazines which promote a toxic and negative narrative. Thank you for standing with us."

The laminated notices were removed on Thursday morning following inquiries by The Advertiser after being there for several weeks.

 

The notice placed by Burnside Council on the magazine rack at its library. Picture: Colin James
The notice placed by Burnside Council on the magazine rack at its library. Picture: Colin James


An elderly woman who regularly goes to the library to read the magazines said it was censorship by a public authority.

The 87-year-old, who asked not be named, said the magazines had "been freely available to read and borrow for the last 10 to 15 years".

"It's like a communist country where they tell you what to read and what to do," she said.

"It's unbelievable that something like this is possible in a free country with freedom of expression."

Another library user, who also asked not to be named, said he had contacted the library earlier this week about the removal of the magazines.

"I spoke to a staff member and asked her to define 'toxic'," he said.

"I suggested it meant 'poisonous' which in my opinion these three magazines certainly aren't."

 

The spot on the magazine rack at Burnside Library previously occupied by Woman's Day. Picture: Colin James
The spot on the magazine rack at Burnside Library previously occupied by Woman's Day. Picture: Colin James

 

Where’s New Idea? We have no idea! Picture: Colin James
Where’s New Idea? We have no idea! Picture: Colin James

The Burnside resident, 74, said while the magazines "are probably not the world's most erudite journalism, they serve an important role in providing gossip and celebrity news which a lot of the community craves".

"There should be room for both intellectual and popular magazines in a public library," he said.

The man said Burnside Council's decision to ban the magazines was "elitist".

"A library should try and be all things to all people," he said.

"There's something in the old expression that you give people what they want rather than what a small group of people thinks the public should have."

The resident said he wondered what other publications the council might ban from the library.

"What about the R-rated DVDs available for loan in the library?" he said.

"And, of course, throughout the shelves, there are many books the library would define as 'toxic' according to their insular standards."

Comment has been sought from Burnside Council.

Originally published as Council library bans 'toxic and negative' gossip mags


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