The winter issue of Index takes as its central theme the censorship of British royal history.

With the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II putting the UK under increased global scrutiny, Index looked at the battle to access royal archives.

Index spoke to historians, academics, and writers, and were surprised at the number of historic files on the Royal Family which are unavailable, and the absurdity of the reasons for denying access to some of them. We have one simple request: end this secretive culture by opening up official archives related to the Royal Family.

Up front

Royal secrecy has no place in a democracy by Jemimah Steinfeld:  We need an end to the UK tradition of keeping royal archives secret.

The Index by Mark Frary: The latest news from the free speech frontlines. Big impact elections, stirring words from the sister of a jailed British-Egyptian activist and a note on billionaire social media takeovers


Mexico’s truth stares down barrel of a gun, by Chris Havler-Barrett: An overreaching military tightens its firm grip in a country mired by violence.

The war the world forgot, by Jemimah Steinfeld: Inside the book exposing the raw truth of the ongoing war in Yemen.

A dissident hero, by Jo-Ann Mort: A journey back to the dissident foundations of Index, through Pavel Litvinov’s memories.

The truth is in the telling, by Kaya Genç: Who decides the limits of disinformation? In Turkey, the government wields the power.

Reaching for an emotional flak jacket, by Rachael Jolley: Trauma takes its toll on journalists, whose mental health is swept under the rug. But are times changing?

Bad seeds, by Vandana Shiva: In seed banks in India, farmers claw back control and give a voice to nature.

Singapore’s elastic band of a Public Order Act, by Kirsten Han: A threat of prison for peaceful protesters, unless you’re in with the right people.

Hong Kong’s valiants with a message for the world, by Yeung Willie Sau: Even in in the face of totalitarianism, the activist chronicling protesters’ journeys refuses to be silenced

Press under pressure, by Alessio Perrone: A new government threatens further erasure of media freedom in Italy – just don’t call them right-wing.

Radical timelines, by Lili Rutai, Mehran Bhat, and Muqeet Shah and Andrew Mambondiyani: A round-the-world tour of social media’s power to both platform and silence.

Tapestry of tyranny, by Katie Dancey-Downs: The embroidery collective stitching stories of Belarus’s political prisoners.

Special Report: Crown confidential

Crown confidential, by Martin Bright: An exclusive Index investigation into the extent Britain’s royals want to control their own story.

Secrets, lies and a costly legal battle, by Andrew Lownie: One historian’s hard fight to reveal the truth about the Mountbattens.

A royal reckoning, by Jenny Hocking: The Queen meddled in an Australian election and then meddled in the history.


Down with a disclaimer, by Marc Nash:  The crowning glory of the argument against labelling art in the case of The Crown.

The Satanic Verses is the rude contrary of the authoritarian lie, Hanif Kureishi: A celebration of Salman Rushdie’s work and an unwavering stand against the spectre of fascism.

Jamaica needs to be a republic – now, by Roselea Hamilton: Support for the monarchy is fading on this commonwealth island.

Report first, talk later…, by Richard Sambrook: Has pressing emotional buttons become the driving force of news?

UK law risks criminalising the innocent, by Danny Shaw:  The most draconian piece of legislation in years will kill protest.

Crowning glory, by Ben Jennings: Announcing the birth of a right royal cartoon.

Challenge the gatekeepers, by Ruth Anderson: We need a conversation about where lines are drawn and by whom.


Russia’s exiled author writes back: by Martin Bright and Zinovy Zinik: An exclusive new story from an author who escaped under the Iron Curtain.

The Unbeaten, by Jemimah Steinfeld: Unpacking samizdat success, writing from Ukraine and keeping creative spirit alive, over coffee with Andrey Kurkov.

The smile that says a thousand words, by Katie Dancey-Downs and Danson Kahyana:  A Ugandan poet turns the trauma of an attack into an act of bravery.

Truth, down under, by Francis Clarke and Diane Fahey: Falling for fake news like lemmings off a cliff.

Last word, by Masih Alinejad: The Iranian activist on the growing protest movement and what book she’d read in prison.