Refusal To Be Silenced

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Refusal To Be Silenced  by Team TIG

As a result of last week’s editorial, the Denman Island Bulletin Board on Facebook (DIBB) has censored The Islands Grapevine (TIG) again. This time, the “moderator” claimed it was because we had “slammed” the author of a letter to TIG that was unsolicited business advice from a contributor to a proposed new publication that has yet to publish an issue. Whatever the critique might be of our editorial, “Unsolicited Business Advice From the ‘Experts’”, it certainly was not a personal attack.

We published that advisory letter alongside our rebuttal to the factually incorrect claims made within it. The letter also suggested that we simply needed to change TIG’s business model as a result of tax funded advertising controlled by a tax funded local employee being withheld from TIG, based on their personal and false claims. They attempted to extort changes to TIG’s policies, and we refused, but we offered to publish their critique of our content and editorial decisions. The DIBB moderator also cited her objections to this honest and factual TIG content as her reason to censor TIG. As a reminder, it was the person making the threat to TIG who took this issue to DIBB and social media, and the moderators did not censor it.

Last week we posted a link that takes you to TIG’s website, theislandsgrapevine.com, and our post did not contain any content that contravened the stated policies of DIBB content moderation, but it was still censored. This follows the uneven pattern of moderation of DIBB that has become its hallmark. And worse, there have been many smears of TIG and its contributors posted on DIBB that have been left unmoderated. There are 2 sets of rules that the DIBB moderators employ, one set for themselves and the siloed social media bullies in their echo-chamber, and another set of rules for a community newspaper that the people who control DIBB are smearing. As if to make our point for us, this is about censorship and content control.

Over on the Hornby Island Word of Mouth Facebook Bulletin Board, the DIBB moderator addressed their issues with the author of the TIG piece she believed was transphobic. She asked the author if it was possible that there was more than one legitimate perspective. The author concurred that it was possible that there could be more than one perspective. As if to make a self declared sign of victory, the DIBB moderator ignored the fact that the principle worked both ways, and that the author’s piece might be a legitimate opinion of a woman revealing her personal trauma of sexual assault. The author has repeatedly stated that they oppose all bigotry, including transphobia. For these radical centrists, any variance from their approved narrative is cause to smear an author and even the publication that dared to publish their work, with no discussion needed and with no sense of an inclusive and diverse community co-existing at all.

The siloed vigilante group on DIBB attacking TIG has expressed that they don’t want TIG to write about these issues anymore, which further makes our point for us. They have set out to silence us, something that we can assure our loyal readers can’t happen until we have a just reckoning of the attempted extortion, and of the lies and smears that continue to be promoted by these people. We have initiated a review of DenmanWorks’ (DW) mistreatment of TIG’s publisher, removing him from the DW Board in a manner that violated its own bylaws, and fired him from his job managing the visitdenmanisland.ca website without cause. We urge all residents to insist that DenmanWorks Economic Enhancement Society, who are responsible for spending your CVRD tax dollars, publish their meeting minutes, something they have not done since their current Chair was elected in 2018, and is now serving beyond his term limit.

We’ve tried to resolve all of this privately and repeatedly, most recently when we accepted a mediated process that the Comox Valley Regional District (DenmanWorks’ funding agency) offered to support, where the other parties involved refused to participate. Now the B.C. Societies Act will investigate, and the bullies will need to answer these questions to the impartial arbitration they offer. In the meantime, keep those cards and letters coming, and thank you to everyone who has supported TIG with donations and petitions and letters to the CVRD. If you believe in principled social justice and a free press, wish us luck.