One year ago today five (as we then were) longtime Guardian readers who were being repeatedly censored in and banished from the ironically titled “Comment is Free” sections, got together to create an outlet where they could express themselves freely.
We started with no hopes of a large audience, and mostly we were posting for ourselves, for other censored users of CiF and for the record. To begin with we were getting just a few hundred visitors a week, if that. But – astonishingly – we seemed to strike a chord with many people out there, and our visitors quite quickly began to increase beyond anything we had imagined possible. By early April we were getting thousands – sometimes tens of thousands – of people a day coming to our small website. Those numbers received a large hit when we were forced to re-locate but they recovered, and – thanks in part to the support of wonderful websites like Russian Insider (who have shared so much of our material) and Media Lens – we are a small but thriving voice in the alternate media.
OffG has assumed a place in the lives of the three remaining original founders – and our regular contributors – we could never have foreseen 12 months ago. It’s been hard -even exhausting – work. We are still entirely unfunded and 100% voluntary, so everything we do has to be slotted around work and family and other considerations. There’s been a lot less free time, but the journey has been fascinating, and well worth it.
We take it as an achievement that the Guardian has recently made it clear it will ban people from commenting if they link to OffG, because we make – in their own words – “statements of fact regarding our journalists credibility.”
You see. It’s official. The Graun no longer has any time for statements of fact.
They just spoil the narrative.
We’re not sure which of our Guardian critiques finally pushed them to this. But we like to think it was our portrait of their star Russia Analyst Luke Harding. The man who called Berezovsky “Mr Banana” in order to foil the FSB.
Thanks to all of you out there who support us with your contributions, and your readership. It’s because enough people care about freedom of opinion, suppressed narratives and media integrity that sites such as ours can thrive. Let’s hope we can keep going and thriving for another year.
Happy Birthday to us.