Awards nominees “celebrate those on the front line in the fight to protect freedom of expression around the world”
Index on Censorship announces shortlist for 2022 Freedom of Expression Awards
16 May 22

The 2021 Freedom of Expression Awards

Index on Censorship has today (Monday, 16 May) announced the nominees for the Freedom of Expression Awards, celebrating those courageous artists, journalists and campaigners who risk arrest, assault and imprisonment through their championing of freedom of expression.

Awards will be presented in three categories: the arts, campaigning, and journalism, as well as a Trustees Award. This year’s panel of judges consists of multi-award-winning artist Alison Jackson, artist and writer Coco Fusco, journalist Ben Preston, and Chair of the Index Board of Trustees Sir Trevor Phillips. 

The shortlisted candidates for the Arts award are:

  • Yemeni artist Thiyazen Al-Alwai, whose street art aims to raise awareness of the war in Yemen and the impact on ordinary Yemenis
  • Mohammed ‘Moe’ Moussa, journalist, podcaster, poet, and founder of the Gaza Poet Society which attempts to amplify the voices of ordinary and struggling Palestinians
  • Hamlet Lavastida, a Cuban artist who documents human rights abuses and highlights Cuban cultural resistance.

The shortlisted candidates for the Campaigning award are:

  • Venezuela Inteligente, a non-profit organisation working to improve engagement online and offline among civil society and media organisations in Venezuela
  • Malcolm Bidali, aka Noah, who was imprisoned in Qatar after raising awareness of the poor living and working conditions of migrant workers
  • OVD-Info, a human rights project documenting cases of protest and arrest in Russia, particularly relating to anti-war protests.

The shortlisted candidates for the Journalism award are:

  • Russian journalist and podcaster, Sonya Groysman, who has been labelled a “foreign agent” by Russian authorities
  • Kashmiri journalist Bilal Hussain who has been increasingly outspoken on issues of censorship as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Huang Xueqin (Sophia), a Chinese journalist, who has reported on the abuse of women in China in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Several of our nominees have experienced imprisonment for their activism; Xueqin is in detention in China, Sonya has been imprisoned and is currently in exile in Turkey, Hamlet is in exile in Europe following incarceration, Malcolm has previously been imprisoned. Despite the threats and the risks, these brave individuals continue to fight against censorship.

Index on Censorship CEO Ruth Smeeth said:

“The Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards are a hugely important moment in our year. While the reality of the risks many nominees face is sobering, the awards are a moment of celebration, showcasing as they do some of the incredible people standing up for freedom of expression and the democratic rights and values across the globe.

“It is our privilege to bring their stories to light and to celebrate their achievements despite great adversity. Their art, campaigning and written words are a living, breathing testimony to the ability of creativity to make real change – even in the teeth of unimaginable adversity.” 



The winners will be announced at the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards in London on Thursday 27 October.

Broadcast and written interviews, along with images and media content, available upon request.

For all media enquiries contact Luke Holland / [email protected] / 07447 008098