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

2018 Fellowship

Selected from over 400 public nominations and a shortlist of 16, the 2018 Freedom of Expression Awards Fellows exemplify courage in the face of censorship. Learn more about the fellowship.

Arts | The Museum of Dissidence

The Museum of Dissidence is a public art project and website celebrating dissent in Cuba. Set up in 2016 by acclaimed artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and curator Yanelys Nuñez Leyva, their aim is to reclaim the word “dissident” and give it a positive meaning in Cuba. The museum organises radical public art projects and installations, concentrated in the poorer districts of Havana. Their fearlessness in opening dialogues and inhabiting public space has led to fierce repercussions: Nuñez was sacked from her job and Otero arrested and threatened with prison for being a “counter-revolutionary.” Despite this, they persist in challenging Cuba’s restrictions on expression.

Full profile | Speech

Campaigning | Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms is one of the few human rights organisations still operating in a country which has waged an orchestrated campaign against independent civil society groups. Egypt is becoming increasingly hostile to dissent, but ECRF continues to provide advocacy, legal support and campaign coordination, drawing attention to the many ongoing human rights abuses under the autocratic rule of President Abdel Fattah-el-Sisi. Their work has seen them subject to state harassment, their headquarters have been raided and staff members arrested. ECRF are committed to carrying on with their work regardless of the challenges.

Full profile | Speech

Digital Activism | Habari RDC

Launched in 2016, Habari RDC is a collective of more than 100 young Congolese bloggers and web activists, who use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to give voice to the opinions of young people from all over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their site posts stories and cartoons about politics, but it also covers football, the arts and subjects such as domestic violence, child exploitation, the female orgasm and sexual harassment at work. Habari RDC offers a distinctive collection of funny, angry and modern Congolese voices, who are demanding to be heard.

Full profile | Speech

Journalism | Wendy Funes

Wendy Funes is an investigative journalist from Honduras who regularly risks her life for her right to report on what is happening in the country, an extremely harsh environment for reporters. Two journalists were murdered in 2017 and her father and friends are among those who have met violent deaths in the country – killings for which no one has ever been brought to justice. Funes meets these challenges with creativity and determination. For one article she had her own death certificate issued to highlight corruption. Funes also writes about violence against women, a huge problem in Honduras where one woman is killed every 16 hours.

Full profile | Speech


The Awards were held at London’s May Fair Hotel on Thursday 19 April 2018.

High-resolution images are available for download via Flickr.



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

Supported by Doughty Street Chambers


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

Supported by Private Internet Access


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

Sponsored by Vice News


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

The 2018 judging panel:

Razia Iqbal
Tim Moloney QC
Yana Peel
Chief Executive
Eben Upton CBE
Tech entrepreneur


The Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship is open to any individual or organisation 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. Nominees must have had a recognisable impact in the past 12 months.

We offer Fellowships in four categories:


The Freedom of Expression Awards and Fellowship have massive impact. You can help by sponsoring or supporting a fellowship.

Index is grateful to those who are supporting the 2018 Awards:


If you are interested in sponsorship you can contact [email protected]