The Big Noise

How macho leaders hide their weakness by stifling dissent, debate and democracy

We are living in the age of the macho leaders. All around the world, these so called "strong men" have stormed the polls and are coming to power. They are being voted in democratically yes, but what they stand for is disastrous for democracy. Not only do they have little time for free speech, their entire image is often constructed around a very delicate type of masculinity that does not accept criticism or dissent. This is what we discuss in the winter 2019 issue of Index on Censorship magazine. In this issue Rappler news editor Miriam Grace Go writes about how the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, tries to position himself as the man by being as foul-mouthed as possible. If you're a critical journalist - and especially a woman journalist - you can expect vitriol from him. Indian journalist Somak Goshal reports on how Narenda Modi presents an image of being both the guy next door, as well as a tough guy - and he's got a large following to ensure his message gets across, come what may. And Stefano Pozzebon talks to journalists in Brazil who are right in the firing line of Jair Bolsonaro's vicious attacks on the media. Meanwhile Mark Frary talks about the tools that autocrats are using to crush dissent and Caroline Lees looks at the smears that are becoming commonplace as a tactic to silence journalists. We also publish a poem from Hong Kong writer Tammy Lai-ming Ho, which addresses the current protests engulfing the city, plus two short stories written exclusively for the magazine by Kaya Genç and Jonathan Tel. Also Rob Sears creates a handbook for the modern dictator. CONTENTS


Tammy Lai-ming Ho
Rob Sears
Jamie Barton
Opera singer


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