Friday, October 10, 2008

What did I tell you?

Less than three weeks ago, I made a posting on this site informing people about how the most posted on topic on Redcar.Net, the Coatham Enclosure topic along with the Rotten Boroughs topic, both of which contained information that the council would prefer people not to read, were removed from Redcar.Net altogether and people who were major contributors to those two topics had been barred from using the site, for no apparent reason at all. I also made the statement that now these two topics had been removed and people who contribute to them had been barred, that I thought that Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council would lift the ban that it imposed on people logging onto Redcar.Net from computers in public libraries.

Well...what I felt would happen has, I have been told, happened. Access to Redcar.Net from public libraries has now been restored. It didn't require a genius to work that one out though did it?

After being found to have lied under the Freedom of Information act regarding this issue of barring access to Redcar.Net and after trying to wriggle and squirm their way out of telling the person who submitted the FOI request in the first place, who actually authorised the barring of the site from public libraries, it would appear that the council have applied pressure to those in control of Redcar.Net to remove the things that they really did find offensive like facts and the truth about their shameful behaviour and the people who were posting those truths and facts.

I say 'those' in control, because the running of the site has now been passed down to seven or eight moderators who monitor the site 24/7. Recently, these moderators, along with the Administrator who said he was going to close the site down totally but didn't, have been barring any dissenting voices or people who dare to even make reference to the actions of this council. In one case, a link was made to an old Vera Moody letter on an old topic on Redcar.Net, the person who posted the link was barred, a woman who asked why she could not access the link was barred because she did not apologise for asking why she could not access the link and then everyone was informed that the topic that the link had been made to, WAS A RESTRICTED TOPIC and could only be viewed by the moderators?

Forgive me for laughing out loud, but is there really any need for such paranoia surrounding a topic that contained a newsletter from a councillor, that was distributed to the whole of the town? More than this, is this not censorship? Allowing only certain individuals to view things that the majority cannot?

After the removal of topics that the council didnt want people to see, the barring of people who made postings on those topics, the reinstatement of Redcar.Net from libraries once these things had happened and now the removal of any dissenting voice and having certain topics being restricted to the privelleged few, it is looks ever more likely that this council in one way or another, have had a hand in all of this and once again stifled free speech. In this particular case they have sanitised a site that contained information that they would prefer was not in the public domain posted by people that they have tried to threaten in the past in order to get them banned from using the site altogether.

If what is looking ever more possible, is actually the case, then I have only one thing to say to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

Your attempts to stifle free speech, democracy and the truth about your shameful behaviour, will not win the day.

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