Moments of Freedom in a bleak year
Our CEO Ruth Anderson talks about our year-end campaign, launched next week, which will focus on the times when light breaks through the darkness
01 Dec 23

The news is bleak, the weather is cold and 2024 is only a month away. As many of us look for some peace and hope as we look to the New Year there is an onus on all of us to celebrate those recent moments of light in the darkness. 

At Index on Censorship our mission is to give a voice to the persecuted and champion freedom of expression. 

But with all the attacks on free speech which have happened in 2023, it would be easy to think that the darkness of tyranny is taking hold and that we are, metaphorically speaking, heading into a winter. 

But as we prepare to wave goodbye to 2023 and endure the dark of winter, it’s important that we remember the moments of light which permeate the shadows. 

That is why, this year, Index is doing something a little different to mark the passing of another year. 

To mark the end of 2022 we ran the ‘Tyrant of the Year’ competition and crowned Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico as the winner after an extensive public vote. But it is easy to fall into the habit of focussing on the bad – obsessing with the tyrants and the demagogues who threaten our liberties. 

But in focussing on the villains, we risk neglecting the heroes of our stories. Those crusading defenders who, often at great person risk, stand on the front line 

That’s why this year Index’s end of year campaign will place the ‘Moments of Freedom’ on a pedestal. Those shafts of light that break through the night. 

Starting on Monday, Index’s staff, trustees and patrons will look back over the year and highlight 12 moments where freedom of expression has been strengthened or celebrated. Over the next two weeks, we will share videos explaining each of these Moments of Freedom on our social media platforms. 

To vote, you will simply need to sign up to our weekly newsletter. Not only does that mean you’ll get to share the joy of our campaign but  you’ll be kept up-to-date with all our work on freedom of expression. The 2023 Moment of Freedom will be announced in the Index newsletter on Friday 12 January 2024.

I’ve already decided my nomination for the 2023 Moment of Freedom. 

It’s the tale of Abdelrahmen Tarek, known as Moka, escaping persecution and reaching a safe haven. The former Egyptian political prisoner, who won our 2022 campaign award is now out of prison and has successfully fled to a safe country. lived in Beirut. His release, and subsequent series of essays for Megaphone highlighting the political and human rights situation in Egypt demonstrate that those who campaign for freedom of expression can retain their voices when we all stand together for them.

Let’s not forget the Moments of Freedom as we turn the corner into 2024. Keep an eye on our socials next week for all the details.


By Ruth Anderson

CEO at Index On Censorship