MAGAZINE
Contents: Free to air
12 Sep 2017
BY JEMIMAH STEINFELD

Contributors include Madeleine Thien, Xinran, Peter Bazalgette, Laura Silvia Battaglia, Mahesh Rao, Chawki Amari and Amie Ferris-Rotman

The retro medium of radio is back, as we explore in the Autumn issue of Index on Censorship magazine 2017, which is excellent news for the delivery of well, news. Laura Silvia Battaglia reports from Mosul on the radio station that is giving a voice to the people there, while Claire Kopsky interviews people behind “radio boats“, boats that are broadcasting information on cholera in the Central African Republic in a bid to educate the population about the disease.

Front cover for Autumn 2017 Index on Censorship magazine

Then there are the examples of radio proving a perfect outlet for people to share their most private inner thoughts and experiences, as Wana Udobang writes about from a Nigerian context and Xinran remembers back in China.

Part of the increased popularity of radio is that it’s managed to evolve and we have an article on how podcasts are being made in some of the least likely – and most censored – places, such as China, and smuggled into North Korea. We also have a handy guide on making your own podcasts, for those with an idea.

But radio’s ability to reach the masses also means that this powerful tool can get into the wrong hands. Ismail Einashe explores this in his article on al-Shabaab in Somalia, who operate a very popular radio station. Then there’s Rwanda, which two decades ago saw the airwaves being monopolised by voices promoting genocide. The country has moved on a lot, but radio is still far from free.

Outside the special report, we take you to Russia where a seemingly innocent film about the last tsar has angered the country’s church. With Banned Books Week coming up, we ask a selection of writers to choose the books that made them think most about free speech. What would be your pick? And we have an extract from a forthcoming novel highlighting the dangers of being a journalist in Mexico, with superb illustrations to accompany.

Finally, don’t miss our cut-out-and-keep male nipple template, a handy tool to ensure female nipples are social media friendly.

Special report: Free to air

Why the rebirth of radio is delivering more news

Fear for the airwaves, by Ismail Einashe: In Somalia al-Shabaab control a prominent radio station and a fifth of the country. Meet the radio presenters who brave danger to keep reporting

Project freedom? by Sally Gimson: Radio Free Europe was at the frontline of Cold War reporting. Three decades on, is it still needed?

Sound unbound, by Oleg Shynkarenko: How a new radio station was built from scratch using crowdfunding to break away from oligarchs and government pressure

Don’t touch that dial, by Kieran Etoria-King, Rachael Jolley, Jemimah Steinfeld: Interviews with a pirate rain DJ, comedian Robin Ince, a Hong Kong presenter, the controller of BBC World Service English and the editor of a refugee radio station

Syrians speaking, by Rhodri Davies: Syrians in exile on why they set up a new radio station and what it covers

Power to the podcast, by Mark Frary: Podcasting is bringing a whole new audience to radio and giving investigative journalism a boost. Plus, our handy guide to making your own podcasts

Stripsearch cartoon, by Martin Rowson: There’s a new app out called Smart Ink. Will it become a dictator’s favourite tool?

Tuning into a brave new world, by Jan Fox: Grassroots radio is on the rise in the USA, where a 98-year-old granny is a station superstar, but it’s not without challenges

Under the rad(io)ar, by Kaya Genç: A radio station in Turkey, known for its criticism of the government, is somehow surviving the current crackdown

Taboos and telephones, by Xinran: Radio was one of the first outlets where Chinese women spoke about personal issues such as forced abortions. Is the same honesty possible today?

Stationed in the warzone, by Laura Silvia Battaglia: Radio presenters in Mosul tell Index how the station is giving a voice to the people, but it has not been easy operating under bombardment

Secrets, lies and Lagos lives, by Wana Udobang: Exorcisms and illicit affairs are just some of the topics callers to a popular talk show in Nigeria wanted to share

New waves, by Claire Kopsky: Radio took to riverboats in the Central African Republic to bring information and news about a cholera epidemic

Chat rooms, by Milton Walker: Talk about interactivity, Jamaican radio shows sometimes receive as many as 4,000 text messages

Sound and fury, by Graham Holliday. Two decades ago Rwandan radio was monopolised by voices promoting genocide, but radio is still not free from controversy

Let’s get this show on the road, by Silvia Nortes: Meet the Spanish comedians behind Radio Gaga, a television show about radio which visits overlooked communities

In focus

China’s other great wall, by Madeleine Thien: 1980s Beijing saw the creation of another wall, one promoting democracy. The Booker Prize nominee discusses its legacy today

Closing access to the back door, by Iona Craig: Investigative journalists working in hostile environments need encrypted apps to work more safely. This is being forgotten in the current debate on encryption

No one owns language, by Jemimah Steinfeld: The 2016 Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty discusses “offensive” language and teaching styles

Risky business, by Charlotte Bailey: Amid confiscations and threats, one chain of bookstores continues to operate in Libya

Tracking down the F word in fiction, by Mahesh Rao, Sean Gallagher, Kieran Etoria-King, Grainne Maguire, Ryan McChrystal: Ahead of Banned Books Week, writers choose the books that make them think about free speech

Costume drama, by Amie Ferris-Rotman: Russia’s religious right claim God is annoyed about a film on the last tsar, just part of a new censorship culture

Bulldozing his way through the media, by Natasha Joseph: Tanzania’ current president has been nicknamed “the bulldozer” and the media is in his sight

Big brother we’re watching you, by Jason Daponte: Members of a new, hip London club claim to have empowered voters in the UK General Election

Making a killing, by Duncan Tucker: A special Index investigation looking at why Mexico is an increasingly deadly place to be a journalist as reporters face threats from corrupt police to deadly drug gangs

New tribal instinct, by Peter Bazalgette: Our pact mentality has become more pronounced as we spend more time online, the author argues

Culture

Parallel lives and unparalleled risks, by Tim MacGabhann: The author discusses his time reporting from Mexico, how the death of one journalist particularly affected him and introduces an excerpt from his forthcoming book

The people’s poet, by Wiji Thukul: Nearly 20 years since Indonesia’s famous poet disappeared, Eliza Vitri Handayani introduces the man and some new translations of his poems

The disappeared, by Chawki Amari: The award-winning Algerian writer talks about prison in Algeria and the media landscape in France. Plus a short story

Column

Index around the world, by Kieran Etoria-King: Top comedy acts discuss the importance of humour following our event Stand up for Satire, plus news of other Index summer highlights

Endnote

Uncovering the nipple cover-up, by Jemimah Steinfeld: The battle to give the female nipple equal rights as one woman heads to the Supreme Court. Plus, a cut-out-and-keep male nipple for social media use

Free to air

Through a range of in-depth reporting, interviews and illustrations, the autumn 2017 issue of Index on Censorship magazine explores how radio has been reborn and is innovating ways to deliver news in war zones, developing countries and online

With: Ismail Einashe, Peter Bazalgette, Wana Udobang

Front cover for Autumn 2017 Index on Censorship magazine

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Jemimah Steinfeld

Jemimah Steinfeld

Deputy Editor, Index on Censorship magazine

Jemimah Steinfeld has lived and worked in both Shanghai and Beijing where she has written on a wide range of topics, with a particular focus on youth culture, gender and censorship. She is the author of the book Little Emperors and Material Girls: Sex and Youth in Modern China, which was described by the FT as "meticulously researched and highly readable". Jemimah has freelanced for a variety of publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Vice, CNN, Time Out and the Huffington Post. She has a degree in history from Bristol University and went on to study an MA in Chinese Studies at SOAS.
Jemimah Steinfeld

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