Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards exist to celebrate individuals or groups who have had a significant impact fighting censorship anywhere in the world.


  • Awards were offered in four categories: Arts, Campaigning, Digital Activism and Journalism
  • Anyone who has had a demonstrable impact in tackling censorship is eligible
  • Winners were honoured at a gala celebration in London at the Barbican Centre
  • Winners joined Index’s Awards Fellowship programme and received dedicated training and support


for artists and arts producers whose work challenges repression and injustice and celebrates artistic free expression


for activists and campaigners who have had a marked impact in fighting censorship and promoting freedom of expression

Digital Activism

for innovative uses of technology to circumvent censorship and enable free and independent exchange of information


for courageous, high-impact and determined journalism that exposes censorship and threats to free expression

The Index Awards Fellowship

In recognising individuals and organisations, often working in dangerous and difficult conditions, Index makes a commitment to them. Through a year-long fellowship we work with our awards winners – both during an intensive week in London, and the rest of the awarding year – to provide longer term, structured assistance to enhance the work they are already doing.


Through the Index Awards Fellowship we work with our winners – both during an intensive week in London and the rest of the awarding year – to provide longer term, structured support.

The goal is to help winners maximise their impact, broaden their support and ensure they can continue to excel at fighting free expression threats on the ground.

Arts 2015
Mouad “El Haqed” Belghouat
Campaigning 2015
Amran Abdundi
Digital Activism 2015
Tamás Bodoky
Journalism 2015
Rafael Marques de Morais
Journalism 2015
Safa Al Ahmad


Criteria – Anyone involved in tackling free expression threats – either through journalism, campaigning, the arts or using digital techniques – is eligible for nomination.

Any individual, group or NGO can nominate or self-nominate. There is no cost to apply.

Judges look for courage, creativity and resilience. We shortlist on the basis of those who are deemed to be making the greatest impact in tackling censorship in their chosen area, with a particular focus on topics that are little covered or tackled by others.

Nominees must have had a recognisable impact in the past 12 months.

Where a judge comes from a nominee’s country, or where there is any other potential conflict of interest, the judge will abstain from voting in that category.

Panel – Each year Index recruits an independent panel of judges – leading world voices with diverse expertise across campaigning, journalism, the arts and human rights.

The judges for 2015, chaired by Index on Censorship’s CEO Jodie Ginsberg were:

Martha Lane Fox
Businesswoman, philanthropist, and public servant
Elif Şafak
Author, columnist, speaker and academic
Mariane Pearl
Journalist and writer
Sir Keir Starmer, KCB, QC
Politician and barrister