This week at Index: Banned Books Week is upon us
20 Sep 2019

Friday 20 September 2019
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22-28 September 

Calling all rebel readers! Celebrate your fREADom!

Banned Books Week UK is almost here. Bookshops, libraries, schools, literary festivals and publishers will be hosting events and making noise about some of the most sordid, subversive, sensational and taboo-busting books around. Find an event near youget involveddownload resource packs and more.

YA writer inspired by “lost” books to write latest novel

When Dave Connis worked in his local library in Tennessee, contentious books would frequently disappear. They would, he told Index, just “never come back” and instead be “lost” to the world. 

Join us at these events (All times BST)
Sunday-Saturday 10pm: Webcast: Banned Books at Bedtime
Monday, 4pm: Webinar: Three ways librarians can combat censorship
Monday, 7pm: John Osborne’s Under Plain Cover
Monday, 7pm: Writers consider walls in literature and in our lives.
Tuesday, 6:45pm: Desert Island Books with Redland Library, Bristol
Wednesday, 6:45pm: Autumn magazine launch party at the Science Museum
Thursday, 9am: Write and Shine Radical and Rebellious writing workshop
Thursday, 7pm: Truly Uncensored? LGBTQ+ Young Adult Literature
Saturday, 12pm: 1984 at 70 – How Has Orwell’s Vision Aged?



Final call!
Index is seeking applicants for its Free Speech Is For Me advocates program. The aim is to equip a broad new range of individuals to challenge censorship, defend speech rights and champion freedom of expression for all. Applications close on 27 September.


Bahrain keeps Nabeel Rajab in prison

The Bahrain High Court of Appeals rejected a request to free the prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who is serving a five-year prison sentence. Index, English Pen, Reporters Without Borders and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy held a vigil outside the Bahrain Embassy to call for Rajab's release. 

Northern Ireland MP's attack on journalist is unacceptable and undermines media freedom

Index on Censorship condemns Ian Paisely MP’s attack on News Letter journalist Sam McBride and calls on parliamentarians to uphold and support the tenets of media freedom.

“Everyone has the right to disagree with a journalist’s analysis, but attacks on a journalist’s character and on their family are completely unacceptable”, said Jessica Ní Mhainín, policy research and advocacy officer at Index on Censorship. “Elected representatives like Mr Paisely, should know that such attacks can undermine media freedom, which is essential to our democracy.”

Also read


Border forces with Peppermint, Ariana Drehsler and Steven Borowiec

Lewis Jennings and Sally Gimson talk to trans woman and activist Peppermint, San Diego photo journalist Ariana Drehsler and Index’s correspondent in South Korea Steven Borowiec.


Beats and borders

Borders have been an inspiration for many ballads and protest songs. We've put together this list for your travels.

From the Archive
The Sin of Power by Arthur Miller

The American playwright and author Arthur Miller wrote for Index Magazine in 1978 about The Sin of Power. Here we reproduce that article for the first time on our website. As part of the autumn 2019 issue of the magazine we asked current day writers to reflect on what lessons Index writers from the past had for us today. The British theatre director Nicholas Hytner was taken by Miller's proposition that: "The sin of power is to not only distort reality but to convince people that the false is true"


In a country that keeps its media under a dome, Belarus's independent journalists face mounting fines

On the surface, Belarus is one of the quieter places for journalists – one rarely hears about gruesome violations, physical assaults or murders of media workers in this post-Soviet country. But a lack of horror stories does not mean there is a liberal policy towards the media. In 2017, Belarus scored 83 points out of 100 (100 indicating the least free) in the Freedom of the Press rating compiled by Freedom House, and in 2018 it was ranked 153rd out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.

In a country where most media outlets are state-owned, one of the most common ways of interfering with journalism is the legislation banning foreign media workers and outlets from reporting without state accreditation – Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code. In 2018, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) recorded 118 fines imposed on freelance journalists collaborating with foreign media without accreditation, totalling €43,000.

Index on Censorship’s Monitoring and Advocating for Media Freedom project monitors threats, limitations and violations related to media freedom in five countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Learn more.


The fraudulent, the offensive and the idiotic

John Lloyd writes for Index on Censorship.

Time was when the political right and social conservatives were enthusiasts for censorship – for “no-platforming” drama, film and books deemed obscene, disrespectful of authority or unpatriotic. The left, and liberals, were the supporters of freedom – calling for the publication of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960; supporting the editors of Oz Magazine in the 1970 prosecution for obscenity; and opposing the charge of gross indecency in the staging of Howard Brenton’s Romans in Britain in 1982.

In every one of these cases, the liberals won, mocking those who were active in the prosecution. The victories effectively ruled out any further action to stop publication or staging.

It is different now. Significant parts of the left now wish to rule out speech they deem offensive.

Index on Censorship defends people's freedom to express themselves without fear of harm or persecution. We publish censored writers and artists, monitor and campaign against censorship, and encourage debate.  

We rely on donations from readers and supporters. By donating to Index you help us to protect freedom of expression and to support those who are denied that right.
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