“Travel writers don’t tell holidaymakers the whole truth about holiday hotspots” - Index report
26 Jun 2018

— Index special issue finds the dark side of summer holiday destinations not being reported on travel sites

Editor calls on travel journalists to tell the whole story

July 4 debate in London’s Book Club

With holidaymakers packing up for their summer trips, a new issue of Index on Censorship magazine reveals the uglier side of countries with tourist appeal and calls on travel writers to do more to give travellers the whole picture.

Index editor Rachael Jolley said: “On travel websites for popular destinations like Mexico, Maldives and Malta there is little sign of the crackdown on freedoms we are seeing in these nations. From the horrific numbers of journalists being killed in Mexico, to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, and anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka, with worshippers attacked on the way to mosques.

“I would like to see travel journalists do more to tell the whole story. With fewer travellers carrying print travel guides, which traditionally did give more background on political tensions and freedoms, digital versions need to step up to give travellers the full range of information, rather than just the glossy bits.”

“With many countries depending on travel spending as a vital part of their economy, the travel industry can also do more to press for change,” she added.

A discussion on the theme, will take place on 4 July at the Book Club in Shoreditch, chaired by BBC World journalist Vicky Baker. Panellists include former foreign correspondent Meera Selva, founder of the travel picture agency Picfair, Benji Lanyado, and Harriet Fitch Little, who writes for the Financial Times travel section, and formerly worked as a journalist in Lebanon.

Tourism is the main pillar of Mexico’s Baja California Sur’s economy, which is now the setting of some of the fiercest drug battles in the country. Conditions for journalists and human rights activists have deteriorated dramatically, according to the Index report Trouble in Paradise.

The security profile of Baja California Sur has changed enormously, but because it’s a tourist spot the government wants to hide that, Mexico correspondent Stephen Woodman writes in the Index report.

Journalist Federica Angeli, whose exposure of mafia in the pretty seaside town of Ostia, near Rome, has resulted in her having to live under 24-hour police protection. “Ostia is a paradise inhabited by demons,” Angeli told Index.

In Malta, where the recent murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia remains largely unsolved, Maltese journalist Caroline Muscat writes: “Those who mention her name, those who refuse to bow to a society bent by corruption, are insulted and threatened. Journalists and activists keep being reminded of the untold damage they are doing to the country’s reputation.”

Honeymoon destination the Maldives is also covered. The “disappearance” of a journalist, the killing of a blogger, death threats, imprisonment and hefty fines are placing an enormous pressure on those who seek to inform the public about what is going on, writes Zaheena Rasheed.

Just how much do these darker sides affect tourism? New data analysed exclusively for Index looks at the power of tourism spend, and just how valuable tourism is to economies such as Mexico and the Maldives.

Also in the magazine:  how journalists’ conditions are deteriorating in Iraq, despite the retreat of Isis, Jon Savage on bands and bans, and Filipino news boss Maria Ressa on keeping going despite government pressure for her news operation to give up, plus a short story on the future of facial recognition by award-winning writer Jonathan Tel.

Editors’ notes:

For media tickets to the debate, email: [email protected]

Index on Censorship magazine was first published in 1972 and remains the only global magazine dedicated to free expression. Since then, some of the greatest names in literature and academia have written for the magazine, including Nadine Gordimer, Mario Vargas Llosa, Amartya Sen, Samuel Beckett, as well as Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter. The magazine continues to attract great writers, passionate arguments, and expose chilling stories of censorship and violence. It is the only global free expression magazine.

Each quarterly magazine is filled with reports, analysis, photography and creative writing from around the world. Index on Censorship magazine is published four times a year by Sage, and is available in print, online and mobile/tablets (iPhone/iPad, Android, Kindle Fire).

Winner of the British Society of Magazine Editors 2016 Editor of the Year in the special interest category.

Trouble in paradise

The summer 2018 issue of Index on Censorship magazine takes a special look at how holidaymakers’ images of palm-fringed beaches and crystal clear waters contrast with the reality of freedoms under threat

With: Ian Rankin, Victoria Hislop, Maria Ressa 


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