This week at Index: Border forces want to be your social media friend
13 Sep 2019

Friday 13 September 2019
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New Issue Out Now!

Border Forces: How barriers to free thought got tough

The autumn 2019 Index on Censorship magazine examines how border officials are demanding access to individuals’ social media accounts at frontiers around the world. This is ushering in a frightening new era where people are worried that their words, their criticism and taking part in a protest will end in a travel ban.

Big Brother at the border
Index editor-in-chief Rachael Jolley argues in the autumn 2019 issue of Index on Censorship magazine that travel restrictions and snooping into your social media at the frontier are new ways of suppressing ideas.

Border Forces with Peppermint, Ariana Drehsler and Steven Borowiec
In the Index on Censorship autumn 2019 podcast, we focus on how travel restrictions at borders are limiting the flow of free thought and ideas. Lewis Jennings and Sally Gimson discuss the latest issue of the magazine and reveal what to expect. Guests include trans woman and activist Peppermint, runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine; San Diego photojournalist Ariana Drehsler; and Steven Borowiec, a regular contributor to the magazine based in South Korea.

Full contents of the issue are here.

Join us on 25 September
Autumn magazine launch party at the Science Museum
We’re launching our latest Index on Censorship magazine at the Science Museum, as part of their Top Secret Lates on Wednesday 25 September. This is a chance for an adults only, after-hours visit to the museum, exploring all things secret, from codebreaking to secret communications.


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. Find out more


Index calls for stronger action to protect media freedom

Index on Censorship welcomes the discussion on media freedom that took place during the International Media Freedom Seminar, which was hosted by the British Group of the Interparliamentary Union (BGIPU) in London between 9-11 September.

The seminar consisted of 8 sessions and more than 30 speakers, including Index’s head of advocacy, Joy Hyvarinen, above.

Parliamentarians from thirteen countries heard from panellists about the rise in cross-border threats against journalists, about countering fake news, and about the need to develop and implement regional and national instruments, including action plans and platforms for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists (such as the Council of Europe platform).

“During the seminar, we repeatedly heard that respect for media freedom is a ‘barometer’ for the state of its democracy – and it is painfully clear that both are in a downward spiral worldwide,” said Jessica Ní Mhainín, policy research and advocacy officer. “As important as the seminar discussion has been, the urgent state of press freedom calls for action. The onus is on every one of us to act.”

Also Read


17 September / Spaces Still Available
Artistic freedom and the internet: Opportunity or threat?

A one-day workshop for UK-based artists, arts organisations and cultural stakeholders.

The internet offers artists and arts organisations direct access to a potentially global audience for their work. What was the preserve of relatively few internationally-known artists and cultural institutions is now in theory open to anyone who can promote their work effectively online. But this unprecedented opportunity can present its own challenge. The volume and intensity of censure has been transformed and something new is in play – the direct targeting of organisations and people online, from campaigns calling for the withdrawal of work, to trolling and even threats of violence.

The Space, BOM and the Index on Censorship are coming together to offer a platform for UK based artists and arts organisations to explore these issues. The workshop will also provide guidance on rights and the legal framework that impacts online expression and advice, from both a legal and practical standpoint, on how to deal with online criticism and harassment.

Over the course of the day, through a combination of case studies, panel discussions and practical sessions, we will examine:

  • The impact of the internet on artistic freedom
  • Investigating self-censorship
  • Dealing with online harassment and attack
  • The role of the internet in delivering cultural democracy
  • Digital rights and legal framework governing freedom of expression in the UK
Full details and booking information here.

22-28 September
Banned Books Week: Celebrate your fREADom!

Banned Books Week UK is a nationwide campaign for radical readers and rebellious readers of all ages celebrate the freedom to read. Between 22 – 28 September 2019, 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. Use this website to find an event near youget involveddownload resource packs and more.

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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