MAGAZINE

Having the last laugh: The comedians who won’t be silenced
21 Dec 23
The Winter 2023 issue of Index looks at how comedy is being censored around the world. Comedy has always been a powerful tool of dissent, but many comedians are being threatened, imprisoned or even killed by oppressive regimes wishing to silence them. Laughter is often the best medicine in dark times, and to target comedy is to try to extinguish hope itself. We highlight the extent of the problem in our magazine, with stories from Russia to Uganda to Brazil reminding us that the dangers of censorship can be experienced everywhere. Outside of our special report, Sasha Dovzhk looks at how libraries in Ukraine have played a pivotal part in the war against Russia, and we publish short stories by Alhierd Bacharevic and Xue Yiwei. Elsewhere, Samir El-Youssef highlights Palestinians who have been silenced in Gaza and Israel, Winthrop Rodgers interviews Kurdish journalist Guhdar Zebari about his lengthy imprisonment in Iraq, and Martin Bright speaks to Russian artists facing cancellation. 

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FEATURING

Alhierd Bacharevič

Alhierd Bacharevič

Alhierd Bacharevič is a Belarusian writer and translator, who previously worked as a teacher of Belarusian and a journalist. His first texts were published in 1993 and his books h...Read More

Alhierd Bacharevič

Alhierd Bacharevič

Alhierd Bacharevič is a Belarusian writer and translator, who previously worked as a teacher of Belarusian and a journalist. His first texts were published in 1993 and his books have been translated into German, French, Polish and Russian.

Rosie Holt

Rosie Holt

Rosie Holt is a British actor, comedian and satirist. She rose to fame during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 with her satirical Woman Who... videos, which were posted onto X...Read More

Rosie Holt

Rosie Holt

Rosie Holt is a British actor, comedian and satirist. She rose to fame during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 with her satirical Woman Who... videos, which were posted onto X (then Twitter).

Vicky Xu

Vicky Xu

Vicky Xu is a China-born Australian journalist, writer and stand-up comedian. As a journalist, she covers international relations, human rights and national security, and is best k...Read More

Vicky Xu

Vicky Xu

Vicky Xu is a China-born Australian journalist, writer and stand-up comedian. As a journalist, she covers international relations, human rights and national security, and is best known for her investigative work on human rights abuses in China.

IN THIS ISSUE

Joke’s on Lukashenka speaking rubbish Belarusian. Or is it?

Belarus’ belligerent leader is both tyrannical and comical. It’s fodder for the nation’s comics – when they’re not being muzzled

Fined thousands for a joke

Malaysian Comedian Rizal Van Geysel tells Francis Clarke how jokes landed him with a court case which inspired his recent show

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