This Week at Index: China's coronavirus cover-up, alert over NI graffiti
07 Feb 2020

Friday, 7 February 2020

"FS4ME: We have created a space where people can speak freely"

The final session of Index on Censorship’s Free Speech Is For Me (FS4ME) training and mentoring programme took place earlier this week.

FS4ME project manager Inaya Folarin Iman said, “Free Speech Is For Me has been an incredibly eye-opening, thought-provoking and crucial programme. I would say that it has been a resounding success. In a climate where many people feel uncomfortable and unable to express themselves, we have created a space where people can speak freely, challenge one another and grow in an open and intellectual way."

One of the scheme's 13 advocates, Obden Mondésir, said: “Challenging hate speech and anything that perpetuates systems of oppression is the only way we are going to have true equality.” 

Watch Obden's take on the project here
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Coronavirus cover-up? Whistleblower among the dead

China is trying to contain not only the coronavirus but also reporting of the coronavirus. The death toll currently sits at more than 500, including a doctor who was one of the first to raise the alarm among his medical colleagues and was gagged by the authorities. The WHO reports that a further 28,000 people in China are infected but are these the real numbers? 

Is China, a country whose government is notorious for censorship and control of information, revealing the whole truth? And how are they handling a crisis in which people having the correct information could be the difference between life and death? Orna Herr reports on the five key trends that are having an impact on the accurate reporting of the virus.


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Alert over Northern Ireland graffiti threat

The Council of Europe has issued a level 2 alert over the safety of Northern Ireland journalist Leona O’Neill. Graffiti calling O'Neill a "MI5 tout" and a "shit stirrer" has recently been daubed on a wall in the Creggan area of Derry/Londonderry. Creggan is where journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead last April.  
O’Neill said, “I am a journalist, working in my city trying to provide for my family. I consider this a threat to my safety.”

The CoE alert is the second in a week relating to UK press freedom. Two days earlier, the organisation had raised an alert about the exclusion of certain political journalists from a trade briefing by Number 10 Downing Street.
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.  

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