THE UK'S oldest student newspaper has been ordered to withhold thousands of copies following legal action by the organisation that funds it.

Edinburgh University's The Student, founded in 1887 by renowned Scots author Robert Louis Stevenson, was forced to act after moves by the Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA).

EUSA obtained an interim interdict from the Court of Session in Edinburgh barring the publication of an article that was due to appear in it last month.

The Student had already printed 4000 copies of the newspaper, which are now being stored in its offices until the final outcome of the hearing is known.

The row, details of which have been published in rival Edinburgh-based student newspaper The Journal, is understood to have its origins in internal strife at the student association last year, which resulted in its vice-president for services Max Crema being suspended for several weeks.

An anonymous post on Mr Crema's blog site, which association officials felt was unfair, had criticised working conditions at some of EUSA's social venues.

In a statement, EUSA president James McAsh refused to discuss details of the case, but said: "Although we are a democratic organisation, there are certain legal obligations that we are required to adhere to."

The Student has now published a front-page item under the headline Shameful, confirming the existence of the interdict.

The editors accuse the union of censorship.

In a leader comment, the editors write: "It deeply saddens us that EUSA would rather spend valuable time and money on suppressing the voice of the students and stifling the freedom of the press than allowing information which we are convinced every student has a right to know come to light."

The interdict, valid for one year and one day unless rescinded earlier, orders that a further hearing on the case be held not sooner than 21 days of the judgment being served.

The Student counts former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook among its previous editors.