A quarterly magazine set up in 1972, Index has published oppressed writers and refused to be silenced across 252 issues.
The brainchild of the poet Stephen Spender, and translator Michael Scammell, the magazine’s very first issue included a never-before-published poem, written while serving a sentence in a labour camp, by the Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who went on to win a Nobel prize later that year.
The magazine continued to be a thorn in the side of Soviet censors, but its scope was far wider. From the beginning, Index declared its mission to stand up for free expression as a fundamental human right for people everywhere – it was particularly vocal in its coverage of the oppressive military regimes of southern Europe and Latin America, but was also clear that freedom of expression was not only a problem in faraway dictatorships. The winter 1979 issue, for example, reported on a controversy in the United States in which the Public Broadcasting Service had heavily edited a documentary about racism in Britain, and then gone to court attempting to prevent screenings of the original version.