#IndexAwards2019: Here's what you need to know
04 Apr 2019

Each year, the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards gala honours courageous champions who fight for free speech around the world.

Drawn from more than 400 crowdsourced nominations, this year’s nominees include artists, journalists, campaigners and digital activists tackling censorship and fighting for freedom of expression. Many of the 15 shortlisted are regularly targeted by authorities or by criminal and extremist groups for their work: some face regular death threats, others criminal prosecution.

The gala takes place on Thursday 4 April in London and will be hosted by comedian Nish Kumar.

We will be live tweeting throughout the evening on @IndexCensorship. Get involved in the conversation using the hashtag #IndexAwards2019.

Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards nominees 2019


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

ArtLords | Afghanistan

ArtLords is a grassroots movement of artists and volunteers in Afghanistan who encourage ordinary citizens, especially women and children, to paint the issues that concern them on so-called blast walls: walls the country’s rich and the powerful have built around themselves to protect them from violence while the poor fend for themselves. Their work has turned a symbol of fear, tension and separation into a platform where social issues can be expressed visually and discussed in the street. ArtLords has completed over 400 murals in 16 provinces of Afghanistan. In March 2018, for International Women’s Day, ArtLords painted a tribute to Professor Hamida Barmaki, a human rights defender killed in a terrorist attack six years ago.

Full profile

Zehra Doğan | Turkey

Released from prison on 24 February 2019, Zehra Doğan is a Kurdish painter and journalist who, during her imprisonment, was denied access to materials for her work. She painted with dyes made from crushed fruit and herbs, even blood, and used newspapers and milk cartons as canvases. When she realised her reports from Turkey’s Kurdish region were being ignored by mainstream media, Doğan began painting the destruction in the town of Nusaybin and sharing it on social media. For this she was arrested and imprisoned. During her imprisonment she refused to be silenced and continued to produce journalism and art. She collected and wrote stories about female political prisoners, reported on human rights abuses in prison, and painted despite the prison administration’s refusal to supply her with art materials.

Full profile

ElMadina for Performing and Digital Arts | Egypt

ElMadina is a group of artists and arts managers who combine art and protest by encouraging Egyptians to get involved in performances in public spaces, defying the country’s restrictive laws. ElMadina’s work encourages participation — through storytelling, dance and theatre — to transform public spaces and marginalised areas in Alexandria and beyond into thriving environments where people can freely express themselves. Their work encourages free expression in a country in which public space is shrinking under the weight of government distrust of the artistic sector. ElMadina also carry out advocacy and research work and provide a physical space for training programmes, residencies and performances.

Full profile

Ms Saffaa | Saudi Arabia / Australia

Ms Saffaa is a self-exiled Saudi street artist living in Australia who uses murals to highlight women’s rights and human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. Collaborating with artists from around the world, she challenges Saudi authorities’ linear and limited narrative of women’s position in Saudi society and offers a counter-narrative through her art. Part of a new generation of Saudi activists who take to social media to spread ideas, Ms Saffaa’s work has acquired international reach. In November 2018, she collaborated with renowned American artist and writer Molly Crabapple on a mural celebrating murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that read, “We Saudis deserve better.”

Full profile


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

Cartoonists Rights Network International | United States / International

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) is a small organisation with a big impact: monitoring threats and abuses against editorial cartoonists worldwide. Marshalling an impressive worldwide network, CRNI helps to focus international attention on cases in which cartoonists are persecuted and put pressure on the persecutors. CRNI tracks censorship, fines, penalties and physical intimidation – including of family members, assault, imprisonment and even assassinations. Once a threat is detected, CRNI often partners with other human rights organisations to maximise the pressure and impact of a campaign to protect the cartoonist and confront those who seek to censor political cartoonists.

Full profile

Institute for Media and Society | Nigeria

The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) is a Nigerian NGO that aims to improve the country’s media landscape by challenging government regulation and fostering the creation of community radio stations in rural areas at a time when local journalism globally is under threat. Three-quarters of television and radio stations in Nigeria are owned by politicians, and as a result they are divided along political lines, while rural communities are increasingly marginalised. IMS’s approach combines research and advocacy to challenge legal restrictions on the media as well as practical action to encourage Nigerians to use their voices, particularly via local radio. IMS also tracks violations of the rights of journalists in Nigeria.

Full profile

Media Rights Agenda | Nigeria

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) is a non-profit organisation that has spent the last two decades working to improve media freedom and freedom of expression in Nigeria by challenging the government in courts. While the constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression, other laws – including the sections of the Criminal Code, the Cybercrimes Act and the Official Secrets Act – limit and even criminalise expression. Through its active legal team, MRA has initiated strategic litigation targeting dozens of institutions, politicians and officials to improve the country’s legal framework around media freedom. Its persistent campaigning and lawsuits on freedom of information have helped improve access to government-held data.

Full profile

P24 | Turkey

P24 (Platform for Independent Journalism) is a civil society organisation that aims to neutralise censorship in Turkey — a country in which speaking freely courts fines, arrest and lengthy jail sentences. P24’s pro bono legal team defends journalists and academics who are on trial for exercising their right to free expression. It also undertakes coordinated social media and public advocacy work that includes live-tweeting from courtrooms and campaigning through an array of websites, newsletters and exhibition spaces. Its latest effort aims to provide spaces for collaboration and free expression in the form of a literature house and a project connecting lawyers and artists.

Full profile

Digital Activism

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

Fundación Karisma | Colombia

Fundación Karisma is a civil society organisation that challenges online trolls by using witty online ‘stamps’ that flag up internet abuse. It is an initiative that uses humour to draw attention to a serious problem: the growing online harassment of women in Colombia and its chilling effect. The organisation offers a rare space to discuss many issues at the intersection of human rights and technology in the country and then tackles them through a mix of research, advocacy and digital tools. Karisma’s “Sharing is not a crime” campaign supports open access to knowledge against the backdrop of Colombia’s restrictive copyright legislation.

Full profile

Mohammed Al-Maskati | Middle East

Mohammed al-Maskati is a digital security consultant who provides training to activists in the Middle East and in North Africa. Working as Frontline Defenders’ Digital Protection Consultant for the MENA Region, Mohammed teaches activists – ranging from vulnerable minorities to renowned campaigners taking on whole governments – to communicate despite government attempts to shut them down. He educates them on the use of virtual private networks and how to avoid falling into phishing or malware traps, create safe passwords and keep accounts anonymous. As governments become more and more sophisticated in their attempts to track and crush dissent, the work of people like Al-Maskati is increasingly vital.

Full profile

SFLC.in | India

SFLC.in (Software Freedom Law Centre) tracks internet shutdowns in India, a crucial service in a country with the most online blackouts of any country in the world. The tracker was the first initiative of its kind in India and has quickly become the top source for journalists reporting on the issue. As well as charting the sharp increase in the number and frequency of shutdowns in the country, the organisation has a productive legal arm and brings together lawyers, policy analysts and technologists to fight for digital rights in the world’s second most populous country. It also provides training and pro-bono services to journalists, activists and comedians whose rights have been curtailed.

Full profile


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

Bihus.info | Ukraine

Bihus.info is a group of independent investigative journalists in Ukraine who – despite threats and assaults – are fearlessly exposing the corruption of many Ukrainian officials. In the last two years alone, Bihus.info’s coverage has contributed to the opening of more than 100 legal cases against corrupt officials. Chasing money trails, murky real estate ownership and Russian passports, Bihus.info produces hard-hitting, in-depth TV reports for popular television programme, Nashi Hroshi (Our Money), which illuminates discrepancies between officials’ real wealth and their official income. One of the key objectives of the project is not just to inform, but to involve people in the fight against corruption by demonstrating how it affects their own well-being.

Full profile

Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) | Serbia

Investigating corruption is one of the most dangerous jobs in journalism: three investigative reporters have been murdered in the European Union in the past year alone. In Serbia, journalists face death threats and smear campaigns portray investigative journalists as foreign-backed propagandists. Against this backdrop, Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) stands out as one of the last independent outlets left amid an increasingly partisan media. Using freedom of information requests, the CINS has created databases based on thousands of pages of documents to underpin its hard-hitting investigations. These include stories on loans provided to pro-government tabloids and TV channels. CINS also provides hands-on investigative journalism training for journalists and editors.

Full profile

Mehman Huseynov | Azerbaijan

Mehman Huseynov is a journalist and human rights defender who documents corruption and human rights violations in Azerbaijan, consistently ranked among the world’s worst countries for press freedom. Sentenced to two years in prison in March 2017 after describing abuses he had suffered at a police station, Huseynov has put his life in danger to document sensitive issues. His work circulated widely on the internet, informing citizens about the real estate and business empires of the country’s government officials, and scrutinising the decisions of president Ilham Aliyev. Before his release from prison in March 2019, Huseynov remained defiant, saying: “I am not here only for myself; I am here so that your children are not in my place tomorrow. If you uphold the judgement against me, you have no guarantees that you and your children will not be in my place tomorrow.”

Full profile

Mimi Mefo | Cameroon

Mimi Mefo is one of less than a handful of journalists working without fear or favour in Cameroon’s climate of repression and self-censorship. An award-winning broadcast journalist at private media house Equinoxe TV and Radio, Mefo was arrested in November 2018 after she published reports that the military was behind the death of an American missionary in the country. Mefo reports on the escalating violence in the country’s western regions, a conflict that has become known as the “Anglophone Crisis” and is a leading voice in exposing the harassment of other Cameroonian journalists, calling publicly for the release of those jailed.

Full profile

Cartoonists Rights Network International continues to monitor the loss of cartoonists from media outlets around the world

Since winning the 2019 Index Award for Campaigning, CRNI has been monitoring the situation with Badiucao, a Chinese dissident cartoonist living in exile in Australia

Se abre el plazo para nominar a las Becas de los Premios a la Libertad de Expresión de Index on Censorship 2020

Ya están abiertas las nominaciones a las Becas de los Premios a la Libertad de Expresión de Index on Censorship.

«Индекс Цензуры» открыл прием заявок на получение «Наград за свободу слова» на 2020 год

Награды присуждаются журналистам, гражданским активистам, интернет-активистам и деятелям искусства, которые борются с цензурой во всем мире Победители получают комплексную поддержку в течение года Номинироваться можно на сайте indexoncensorship.org/nominations Номинации открыты с 1 июля по 31 июля 2019 года #IndexAwards2020 This press release is also available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Portuguese, Spanish Номинации на получение «Наград [...]


•该奖项旨在奖励全球反对审查制度的记者、活动家、数字活动家和艺术家 •获奖者将得到为期一年的综合援助支持 •请在indexoncensorship.org/nominations网站提名 •提名于2019年7月1日至7月31日期间开放 •#IndexAwards2020 This press release is also available in Arabic, English, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish “审查目录”言论自由奖提名现已开放。该奖项已有二十年历史,旨在表彰世界上最杰出之捍卫言论自由英雄。 2020年将迎来言论自由奖二十周年庆,多年来共有87杰出人士位获奖者。自2015年来“审查目录”已扩大奖项计划,支持22名获奖者在国际间开展捍卫言论自由的工作。 该奖项旨在支持世界各地各阶层活动家。历年获奖者包括洪都拉斯调查记者Wendy Funes,叙利亚漫画家Ali Farzat、巴基斯坦教育活动家马拉拉(Malala Yousafzai)、沙特阿拉伯调查记者Safa Al Ahmad和南非LGBTI摄影师Zanele Muholi。 “审查目录”诚挚邀请公众、公民社会组织、非营利组织和媒体组织提名在全球范围内反对审查制度中应得到表彰和支持的任何个人或组织。 我们在以下四个领域各提供一个奖项: •艺术创作:包括艺术家和艺术出品人,他们的作品挑战压迫和不公并倡导艺术自由表达。该提名可包括视觉艺术家、音乐家、漫画家及创意作家。个人或创作集体均可提名。 •活动家:旨在奖励为在反对审查制度和促进当地言论自由方面产生显着影响的活动家和活动人士开展活动。个人或组织提名均可。 •数字行动:旨在奖励为研发开创性技术以绕过审查制度从而实现信息自由和独立交流。提名包含手机应用程序,数字工具或软件。 •新闻工作:旨在奖励勇敢和坚定的新闻报道,揭露审查制度同言论自由所受威胁,要求信息公开。提名包括博客作家、新闻媒体和调查性非营利组织。 所有获奖者都将得到为期12个月的指导,网络及战略支持。获奖者将于年初(2020年4月)受邀参加于伦敦举办为期一周的研讨会、培训及公众活动,期间住宿及其他相关费用由主办方提供。在这一年中,“审查目录”将与获奖者深入合作以提升其工作的影响力、形象及可持续性。 “审查目录”公司首席执行官朱迪·金斯伯格表示:“言论自由奖向世界展示了20年来最无畏、最未被颂扬的言论自由捍卫者。我们试图褒奖那些推动言论自由的团体和个人的工作,他们往往承受巨大的困难及危险。近年来,我们扩大了奖项计划,给予获奖者有针对性的支持和培训来扩大他们的影响。用您的声音提名言论自由奖以确保他们的声音被世人听到。” 2020年奖项候选名单将于2020年初公布。获奖者将由一个高规格的评审小组选出,并于2020年4月在伦敦举行的颁奖仪式上宣布。提名将于2019年7月1日至2019年7月31日下午五时英国标准时间开放。 言论自由奖于2001年启动,旨在提升全球捍卫言论自由的个人和组织的形象。 有关奖项及更多相关信息,请联系Sean Gallagher,电子邮件:[email protected] 关于言论自由奖 2020年将迎来言论自由奖二十周年庆,多年来共有87位获奖者获奖。自2015年来“审查目录”已扩大奖项计划,支持22名获奖者在国际间开展捍卫言论自由的工作。 2020年度获奖者都将获得为期12个月的指导,网络及战略支持。更多信息 关于“审查目录” “审查目录”是一家总部位于伦敦的非营利组织,负责发表被禁作家和艺术家的作品及反对全球审查制度的活动。自1972年成立以来,“审查目录”在其屡获殊荣的季刊中发表了世界著名文学家的作品,包括萨缪尔·贝克特、纳丁·戈迪默、马里奥·巴尔加斯·略萨、亚瑟·米勒和库尔特·冯内古特。并出版了从哈维尔到埃利夫·沙法克等世界世界知名政论作家的作品。 An upcoming review of the Prevent counter-extremism programme is at risk of [...]

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