Index Index

What is the Index Index? The Index Index is a pilot project that uses innovative machine learning techniques to map the free expression landscape across the globe to gain a clearer country-by-country view of the state of free expression across academic, digital and...

Statement of support for Ukraine

We, the undersigned organisations, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but particularly Ukrainian journalists who now find themselves at the frontlines of a large-scale European war.

We unequivocally condemn the violence and aggression that puts thousands of our colleagues all over Ukraine in grave danger.

We call on the international community to provide any possible assistance to those who are taking on the brave role of reporting from the war zone that is now Ukraine. 

We condemn the physical violence, the cyberattacks, disinformation and all other weapons employed by the aggressor against the free and democratic Ukrainian press. 

We also stand in solidarity with independent Russian media who continue to report the truth in unprecedented conditions.

Join the statement of support for Ukraine by signing it here



  1. Justice for Journalists Foundation 
  2. Index on Censorship
  3. International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech “Adil Soz” 
  4. International Media Support (IMS)
  5. Yerevan Press Club 
  7. Free Press Unlimited
  8. Human Rights Center “Viasna”
  9. Albanian Helsinki Committee
  10. Media Rights Group, Azerbaijan 
  11. European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
  12. Association of European Journalists
  13. School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in Central Asia 
  14. Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
  15. Reporters Without Borders, RSF
  16. Association of Independent Press of Moldova, API 
  17. Public Association “Dignity”, Kazakhstan
  18. PEN International 
  19. Human Rights House Foundation, Norway
  20. IFEX
  21. UNITED for Intercultural Action
  22. Human Rights House Yerevan
  23. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor, Armenia
  24. Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, Norway
  25. Society of Journalists, Warsaw
  26. The Swedish OSCE-network
  27. Hungarian Helsinki Committee 
  28. Legal policy research centre, Kazakhstan
  29. Public Foundation Notabene – Tajikistan 
  30. HR NGO “Citizens’ Watch – St. Petersburg, Russia
  31. English PEN
  32. Public organization “Dawn” – Tajikistan
  33. International Press Institute (IPI)
  34. The Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan 
  35. ARTICLE 19
  36. Human Rights House Tbilisi
  37. Rights Georgia
  38. Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center, Azerbaijan
  39. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  40. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
  41. Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
  42. European Federation of Journalists
  43. Social Media Development Center, Georgia
  44. Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia
  45. OBC Transeuropa
  46. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  47. Journalists Union YENI NESIL, Azerbaijan
  48. Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) , Istanbul
  49. Baku Press Club 
  50. Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development
  51. Union Sapari
  52. The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ)
  53. Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Armenia 
  56. CFDT-Journalistes
  57. Belarusian Association of Journalists 
  58. SafeJournalists network
  59. Association of Journalists of Kosovo
  60. Association of Journalists of Macedonia
  61. BH Journalists Association
  62. Croatian Journalists’ Association
  63. Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
  64. Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
  65. Analytical Center for Central Asia (ACCA)
  66. Trade Union of Croatian Journalists 
  67. European Press Prize
  68. Ethical Journalism Network
  69. European Journalism Centre 
  70. Slovene Association of Journalists
  71. Investigative Studios
  72. PEN Belarus
  73. Public Media Alliance (PMA)
  74. Estonian Association of Journalists
  75. Federación de Sindicatos de Periodistas (FeSP) (Spain)
  76. DJV, German Journalist Federation  
  77. Free Russia Foundation   
  78. Association for Human Rights in Central Asia – AHRCA 
  79. “Human Rights Consulting Group” Public Foundation, Kazakhstan
  80. Committee to Protect Journalists
  81. Ski Club of International Journalists (SCIJ)
  82. Women In Journalism Institute, Canada – associate of CFWIJ
  83. Romanian Trade Union of Journalists MediaSind
  84. Romanian Federation Culture and Mass-Media FAIR, MediaSind
  85. New Generation of Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Kazakhstan
  86. Coalition for the Security and Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Activists, Kazakhstan
  87. Legal policy Research Centre, Kazakhstan 
  88. Eurasian Digital Foundation, Kazakhstan
  89. Legal Analysis and Research Public Union, Azerbaijan
  90. German Journalists Union
  91. Digital Rights Expert Group, Kazakhstan
  92. Bella Fox, LRT/Bellarus Media, Lithuania
  93. Syndicat national des journalistes CGT (SNJ-CGT), France
  94. Karin Wenk, Editor in Chief Menschen Machen Medien
  95. Press Emblem Campaign 
  96. Federacion de Servicios, Consumo y Movilidad (FeSMC) – UGT (Spain)   
  97. Sindicato dos Jornalistas, Portugal
  98. International media project Август2020/August2020 (, Belarus
  99. Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (
  100. Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers, Macedonia
  101. Adam Hug, Director, Foreign Policy Centre
  102. Zlatko Herljević, Croatian journalist, lecturer of journalism at University VERN, Zagreb, Croatia
  103. Independent Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU), Russia
  104. The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
  105. Hungarian Press Union (HPU), Hungary
  106. Lithuanian Journalists Union
  107. National Union of Journalists UK & Ireland 
  108. Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (Italy)
  109. Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) 
  110. Uzbek Forum for Human Rights
  111. Association of Journalists, Turkey
  112. Slovak Syndicate of Journalist, Slovakia
  113. GAMAG Europe (European Chapter of the Global Alliance for Media and Gender)
  114. Slovenian Union of Journalists (SNS)
  115. Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España (FAPE)
  116. Syndicate of Journalists of Czech Republic
  117. 360 Degrees, Media outlet, North Macedonia
  118. Frontline, Skopje, North Macedonia
  119. Community Media Solutions (UK)
  120. The Norwegian Union of Journalists, Norway
  121. Rentgen Media (Kyrgyz Republic)
  122. Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF)
  123. Syndicat National des Journalistes (SNJ), France
  124. The Swedish Union of Journalists, Sweden
  125. Asociación Nacional de Informadores de la Salud. ANIS. España
  126. Association Générale des Journalistes professionnels de Belgique (AGJPB/AVBB)
  127. Macedonian Institute for Media (MIM), North Macedonia  
  128. Lithuanian Journalism Centre, Lithuania
  129. Club Internacional de Prensa (CIP), España
  130. Periodical and Electronic Press Union
  131. Fojo Media Institute, Sweden
  132. Mediacentar Sarajevo 
  133. Media Diversity Institute
  134. Impressum – les journalistes suisses
  135. Agrupación de Periodistas FSC-CCOO
  136. South East European Network for Profession­alization of Media (SEENPM)
  137. TGS, Turkey
  138. Investigative Journalism Center, Croatia
  139. Verband Albanischer Berufsjournalisten der Diaspora, Schweiz
  140. IlijašNet
  141. Journalists Union of Macedonia and Thrace (Greece)
  142. The Union of Journalists of Armenia (UJA) 
  143. Associació de Periodistes Europeus de Catalunya (APEC)
  144. International Association of Public Media Researchers (IAPMR)
  145. FREELENS e.V. – German Association of Photojournalists & Photographers
  146. LawTransform (CMI-UiB Centre on Law & Social Transformation, Bergen, Norway)
  147. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio & Communication
  148. Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), Turkey
  149. Novi Sad School of Journalism (Serbia) 
  150. Col·legi de Periodistes de Catalunya (Catalunya)

Turkish-Armenian academic faces deportation from Greece over controversial views

Sevan Nişanyan at home in Samos

A prominent Turkish-Armenian academic faces deportation from Greece after being labelled an “undesirable foreigner” in what he sees as punishment for creating a database of Greek placenames and how they have changed through history.

Sevan Nişanyan, born in Istanbul in 1956, is a linguist and compiler of the hugely comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Turkish Language.

In 2012, he wrote a blog post about free speech arguing for the right to criticise the Prophet Mohammed which incensed then prime minister and now president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Speaking to Index in an interview at the time, Nisanyan said: “I received a call from [Erdogan’s] office inquiring whether I stood by my, erm, ‘bold views’ and letting me know that there was much commotion ‘up here’ about the essay. The director of religious affairs, the top Islamic official of the land, emerged from a meeting with Erdogan to denounce me as a ‘madman’ and ‘mentally deranged’ for insulting ‘our dearly beloved prophet’”.

The following year he was sentenced to 13 months in jail for his “insults”.

While in prison, he was further charged with violations of building regulations in relation to the village of Şirince in Turkey’s Izmir Province and particularly the mathematical research institute established there in 2007 by Ali Nesin and in which Nasanyan was heavily involved.

Nişanyan was charged with 11 violations of the code leading to a total prison term of more than 16 years.

At the time, he and others were convinced that this was a political case, because jail time for building code infringements is almost unheard of in Turkey and he was merely being punished for his earlier views and blog post.

In 2017, Nişanyan escaped from the Turkish low security prison where he was being held and travelled by boat to Greece, where he claimed asylum and was granted a temporary residence permit.

He has since been living on the island of Samos and married a Greek citizen in 2019. While there he successfully applied for an Armenian passport and dropped his asylum application.

Everything changed on 30 December 2021 when he was denounced by the Greek police as a national security threat. His supporters say his name was added to what is known as the EKANA list of undesirable foreigners, administered by Greece’s Ministry of Public Order. At a recent press conference, Nişanyan claimed the reasons for the inclusion of his name on the list is considered a state secret.

The fast-growing use of the EKANA list has been called a “particularly worrying development” by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs.

“The Ekana list has become a favoured tool of the Greek police, primarily used against refugees who are denied asylum,” says Nişanyan.

Nişanyan says he has no concrete idea why his own name is on the list but he can speculate.

“There have been all sorts of accusations of me working against Greek national ideas,” he says.

He suspects it may be related to his creation of the Index Anatolicus, “a website looking at the toponomy of placenames, the authoritative source on the name changes to 53,000 Turkish places”.

“I recently decided to expand into Greece, North Macedonia, and Armenia,” he says.

He recognises it is a sensitive issue. In 1923, Greece and Turkey agreed to a population exchange after the fall of the Ottoman Empire which saw 1.3 million people made refugees.

“A hundred years ago, none of the towns and hamlets in northern Greece had Greek names. I have been accused by lots of insignificant people that this was a grave betrayal of the Greek motherland. That is absurd.”

On 7 January, the court ordered Nişanyan’s release saying he presented no risk of fleeing but gave him 15 days to leave the country voluntarily. He appealed against the ruling but this was thrown out on Thursday 13 January, meaning he must now leave by 22 January or face forced deportation. His request to be removed from the EKANA list has also been turned down. Nişanyan has appealed both decisions with the Administrative Court of the First Instance in Syros.

Nişanyan claims he is not a threat and that deportation would be particularly harsh on his wife, who is seriously ill.

He believes he has also become persona non grata as a result of a less welcoming attitude towards foreigners in the eastern Aegean in recent years.

“There has been enormous panic and paranoia over the refugees. Three years ago, people in Samos were divided on the refugee issue. Now you can be literally lynched if you say anything positive about refugees. It is a huge emotional mobilisation against all refugees and not surprisingly, part of that hostility has been directed towards Westerners and the NGOs who have ‘invaded’ the islands over the past few years.”

Where can Nişanyan go?

“I am tired and getting old. My wife’s health is a huge disaster. My normal instinct would be to stay and fight as I have been a fighter all my life. Now I am a weary,” he says.

“My three grown children are in Turkey and I have property there. However, I cannot go back unless there is some sort of presidential pardon.”

“The reasonable thing would be to go to Armenia, sit out the storm and come back some time,” but says that his chances of getting back to Greece appear slim.

It is also unclear whether his wife will be well enough to accompany him.

Nişanyan hopes the government comes to it sense and reconsiders an “utterly stupid decision which was obviously taken at the instigation of a paranoid and ignorant police force”.

He says, “I don’t think ever in the history of this country has a person who has not committed any crime whatsoever been deported to Armenia, historically one of Greece’s closest friends. It doesn’t make any political sense.”

Nişanyan has also gained support from the Anglo-Turkish writer and Balkans expert Alev Scott.

Scott told Index, “It is ironic that Sevan is hated in Turkey as an Armenian and in Greece as a Turk – and in both countries, as an outspoken intellectual who challenges conservative beliefs and nationalist sensibilities.

“He fled from a Turkish prison to a Greek island and embraced it as his new home; sadly, in recent years the Greek islands have become more and more hostile to foreigners as the refugee crisis worsens, and Sevan is a victim of this development.

“He is a big local presence on Samos, and receives a steady stream of visitors from Turkey and elsewhere – clearly, this has not gone down with locals, or with police,” she said.

“Sevan’s scholarly work on the etymological roots of place names raised hackles in Turkey and his proposal of a similar project on Greek place names has had a similar effect. Anything that challenges the existing nationalist narrative in both countries is, of course, highly controversial. It is beyond absurd that this academic – outspoken though he may be – presents a national security threat to Greece.”

Nişanyan also claims support for his case at the highest levels in the country – “former prime ministers, people high up in the judiciary system and journalists”.

“They seem shocked,” he says. “They cannot imagine something like this happening in a presumably democratic country.