Matthew Parris, one of Britain’s most renowned newspaper columnists, has been appointed a trustee of Index on Censorship, the UK’s leading organisation promoting freedom of expression. And, in an exciting week for free speech in the UK, musical innovator Brian Eno has become an Index on Censorship patron.
Times journalist Parris, who won the Orwell Prize in 2004 for his autobiography Chance Witness, said today: “The freedom to speak or write what is considered right, fair or constructive is a freedom Stalin himself would have endorsed. The real test is of our willingness to tolerate words we think wrong, unfair or damaging. In that cause, I feel honoured to be asked to join Index on Censorship.”
Jonathan Dimbleby, chair of Index on Censorship, welcomed Parris: “I can think of no-one who better exemplifies the importance of freedom of expression to a civilised society. As one of the UK’s most brilliant commentators he has persistently upheld the values for which Index campaigns. I am delighted that he has agreed to join us.”
Parris is the latest of a series of high-profile appointments to the Index on Censorship board under Chair Jonathan Dimbleby, who joined Index in 2008. These include former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Sir Ken Macdonald QC, former Director of Public Prosecutions, and Katie King, Microsoft’s head of creative and development. Sir Ken launched Index on Censorship and English PEN’s libel reform campaign earlier this month.
Index on Censorship is also pleased to welcome music legend Brian Eno as a patron. Eno joins two other recently appointed patrons from the arts world, actor Simon Callow CBE and Jude Kelly OBE, artistic director of the South Bank Centre.