Local members of international climate activism group, Extinction Rebellion, are planning a mock hanging demonstration to protest what they say is biased coverage in Victoria’s Times Colonist newspaper.
On Wednesday November 13th, at around 3:30 p.m., activists will erect a simulated gallows in front of the building at 2621 Douglas Street, and have three people stand on blocks of ice with nooses around their necks.
The group says this demonstration is symbolic of how global warming is tightening the noose around the necks of humans and a million other species.
A similar demonstration was organized by the same group outside the CTV Vancouver Island offices on Pandora Avenue in September, when activists argued that media outlets do not provide enough coverage of the climate crisis.
The premise behind their protest this week is the Times Colonist’s affiliation with its parent company, Glacier Media, which according to Extinction Rebellion is a conflict of interest due to the latter’s ties to the oil and gas industry.
Glacier Media publishes oil industry periodicals such as Oilweek, Daily Oil Bulletin and Pipeline News.
According to the group, ties to these publications impact Times Colonist’s approach to reporting on climate change, and influences their decision to publish climate denialists like Maxime Bernier and Gwyn Morgan.
“Glacier Media Inc. and its subsidiaries are failing to responsibly report the global climate and extinction emergency that imperils all life on the planet,” said Dr. Rob Duncan, a former psychology professor, in a statement.
“We are zombie-walking into disaster, and media is complicit with industry in trivializing the existential threat to humanity. What the Times Colonist offers is not good journalism but infotainment intended to be served and consumed like fast food-quickly forgotten and replaced with a new dish.”
In addition to the simulated execution demonstration, the Extinction Rebellion event will also feature speakers, music, and a “citizen die-in” on Douglas Street. They will be providing on-site counselling during the event.
Times Colonist responds
In a response to allegations made by Extinction Rebellion, Times Colonist editor and publisher Dave Obee issued the following statement:
“Decisions on what the Times Colonist publishes are made here, not by anyone at Glacier Media, and our decisions are not influenced by Glacier Media.
We have published a wide range of reports, opeds and letters on climate change, including commentaries by members of Extinction Rebellion.
The protest organizers have been extremely selective in compiling their list of complaints about us. Anyone who reads the Times Colonist will know that their claims are without merit.
We have published more items on climate change this year than any other newspaper in Canada. During the election campaign we asked all party leaders to submits opeds on climate change, and all complied.
We are doing what we should be doing, covering climate change fairly and accurately.”
Not their first demonstration
Earlier this year, Extinction Rebellion hosted a demonstration that shut down Johnson Street Bridge during evening rush hour.
They were also responsible for pouring fake blood in the fountain outside the BC Parliament buildings, and shutting down the intersection of Government and Belleville Streets for several hours during the Global Climate Strike week in September.
Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent civil disobedience group founded by British environmental activists Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook.
Their movement began in October 2018 with acts of civil disobedience in London and has since sent shockwaves across the globe with many of their protests receiving massive media coverage.