The spring issue of Index magazine is special. We are celebrating 50 years of history and to such a milestone we’ve decided to look back at the thorny path that brought us here.

Editors from our five decades of life have accepted our invitation to think over their time at Index, while we’ve chosen pieces from important moments that truly tell our diverse and abundant trajectory.

Susan McKay has revisited an article about the contentious role of the BBC in Northern Ireland published in our first issue, and compares it to today’s reality.

Martin Bright does a brilliant job and reveals fascinating details on Index origin story, which you shouldn’t miss.

Index at 50, by Jemimah Steinfeld: How Index has lived up to Stephen Spender’s founding manifesto over five decades of the magazine.

The Index: Free expression around the world today: the inspiring voices, the people who have been imprisoned and the trends, legislation and technology which are causing concern.

“Special report: Index on Censorship at 50”][vc_column_text]Dissidents, spies and the lies that came in from the cold, by Martin Bright: The story of Index’s origins is caught up in the Cold War – and as exciting

Sound and fury at BBC ‘bias’, by Susan McKay: The way Northern Ireland is reported continues to divide, 50 years on.

How do you find 50 years of censorship, by Htein Lin: The distinguished artist from Myanmar paints a canvas exclusively for our anniversary.

Humpty Dumpty has maybe had the last word, by Sir Tom Stoppard: Identity politics has thrown up a new phenonemon, an intolerance between individuals.

The article that tore Turkey apart, by Kaya Genç: Elif Shafak and Ece Temulkuran reflect on an Index article that the nation.

Of course it’s not appropriate – it’s satire, by Natasha Joseph: The Dame Edna of South Africa on beating apartheid’s censors.

The staged suicided that haunts Brazil, by Guilherme Osinski: Vladimir Herzog was murdered in 1975. Years on his family await answers – and an apology.

Greece haunted by spectre of the past, by Tony Rigopoulos: Decades after the colonels, Greece’s media is under attack.

Ugandans still wait for life to turn sweet, by Issa Sikiti da Silva: Hopes were high after Idi Amin. Then came Museveni …People in Kampala talk about their
problems with the regime.

How much distance from Mao? By Rana Mitter: The Cultural Revolution ended; censorship did not.

Climate science is still being silenced, by Margaret Atwood: The acclaimed writer on the fiercest free speech battle of the day.

God’s gift to who? By Charlie Smith: A 2006 prediction that the internet would change China for the better has come to pass.

50 tech milestones of the past 50 years, by Mark Frary: Expert voices and a long-view of the innovations that changed the free speech landscape.

Censoring the net is not the answer, but… By Vint Cerf: One of the godfathers of the internet reflects on what went right and what went wrong.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Five decades in review”][vc_column_text]An arresting start, by Michael Scammell: The first editor of Index recounts being detained in Moscow.

The clockwork show: Under the Greek colonels, being out of jail didn’t mean being free.

Two letters, by Kurt Vonnegut: His books were banned and burned.

Winning friends, making enemies, influencing people, by Philip Spender: Index found its stride in the 1980s. Governments took note.

The nurse and the poet, by Karel Kyncl: An English nurse and the first Czech ‘non-person’.

Tuning in to revolution, by Jane McIntosh: In revolutionary Latin America, radio set the rules.

‘Animal can’t dash me human rights’, by Fela Kuti: Why the king of Afrobeat scared Nigeria’s regime.

Why should music be censorable, by Yehudi Menuhin: The violinist laid down his own rules – about muzak.

The snake sheds its skin, by Judith Vidal-Hall: A post-USSR world order didn’t bring desired freedoms.

Close-up of death, by Slavenka Drakulic: We said ‘never again’ but didn’t live up to it in Bosnia. Instead we just filmed it.

Bosnia on my mind, by Salman Rushdie: Did the world look away because it was Muslims?

Laughing in Rwanda, by François Vinsot: After the genocide, laughter was the tonic.

The fatwa made publishers lose their nerve, by Jo Glanville: Long after the Rushdie aff air, Index’s editor felt the pinch.

Standing alone, by Anna Politkovskaya: Chechnya by the fearless journalist later murdered.

Fortress America, by Rubén Martínez: A report from the Mexican border in a post 9/11 USA.

Stripsearch, by Martin Rowson: The thing about the Human Rights Act …

Conspiracy of silence, by Al Weiwei: Saying the devastation of the Sichuan earthquake was partly manmade was not welcome.

To better days, by Rachael Jolley: The hope that kept the light burning during her editorship.

Plays, protests and the censor’s pencil, by Simon Callow: How Shakespeare fell foul of dictators and monarchs. Plus: Katherine E McClusky.

The enemies of those people, by Nina Khrushcheva: Khrushchev’s greatgranddaughter on growing up in the Soviet Union and her fears for the US press.

We’re not scared of these things, by Miriam Grace A Go: Trouble for Philippine

Windows on the world, by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee: Poems from Iran by two political prisoners.

Beijing’s fearless foe with God on his side, by Jimmy Lai: Letters from prison by the Hong Kong publisher and activist.

We should not be put up for sale, by Aishwarya Jagani: Two Muslim women in India on being ‘auctioned’ online.

Cartoon, by Ben Jennings: Liberty for who?

Amin’s awful story is much more than popcorn for the eyes, by Jemimah Steinfeld: Interview with the director of Flee, a film about an Afghan refugee’s flight and exile.

Women defy gunmen in fight for justice, by Témoris Grecko: Relatives of murdered Mexican journalist in brave campaign.

Chaos censorship, by John Sweeney: Putin’s war on truth, from the Ukraine frontline.

In defence of the unreasonable, by Ziyad Marar: The reasons behind the need
to be unreasonable.

We walk a very thin line when we report ‘us and them’, by Emily Couch: Reverting to stereotypes when reporting on non-Western countries merely aids dictators.

It’s time to put down the detached watchdog, by Fréderike Geerdink: Western newsrooms are failing to hold power to account.

A light in the dark, by Trevor Philips: Index’s Chair reflects on some of the magazine’s achievements.

Our work here is far from done, by Ruth Smeeth: Our CEO says Index will carry on fighting for the next 50 years.

In vodka veritas, by Nick Harkaway and Jemimah Steinfeld: The author talks about Anya’s Bible, his new story inspired by early Index and Moscow bars.

A ghost-written tale of love, by Ariel Dorfman and Jemimah Steinfeld: The novelist tells the editor of Index about his new short story, Mumtaz, which we publish.

‘Threats will not silence me’, by Bilal Ahmad Pandow and Madhosh Balhami: A Kashmiri poet talks about his 30 years of resistance.

A classic case of cancel culture, by Marc Nash: Remember Socrates’ downfall.