Are you Index on Censorship's next inspirational leader?

Index was launched on the pages of The Times Literary Supplement in 1972 by the poet Stephen Spender, with the desire to find a home for the work of political dissidents - in his words we were to be a voice for the persecuted.  Founded at the height of the Cold War we were at the forefront of the samizdat campaign. As we face the renewed threats to freedom of expression posed by the current generation of tyrants, our objectives remain the same now as they were then, to provide a platform for dissidents to tell their stories and to protect the invaluable right of freedom of expression both at home and abroad.

However in order to ensure we have the moral authority to challenge repressive regimes Index also campaigns on threats to freedom of expression at home.  In our half century we fought and won the battle against libel tourism, led the campaign against SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation), intervened in Maya Forstater’s employment tribunal to protect free speech at work and led the campaign against unnecessary restrictions to freedom of expression in the Online Safety Act.

And we continue to fight against pernicious attacks on media, artistic and academic freedom whatever their source.

During the last fifty years Index on Censorship has published the works of dissidents in our quarterly magazine as diverse as Ai Weiwei and Vaclav Havel. Index published Salman Rushdie after the Fatwa, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons after the massacre and the poetry of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe while she was imprisoned.

Given events in Ukraine, the challenge posed by the CCP both in Hong Kong and further afield and the populist challenges to freedom of expression under numerous regimes, Index has returned to its heritage, focusing its efforts on supporting dissidents and giving them a voice.

A new chief executive for Index

Index is seeking an inspirational, innovative and focused CEO to build on its heritage and solid foundations to take the organisation to the next level. Index is a unique entity, publishing an award winning quarterly magazine as well as running advocacy and engagement campaigns on issues related to freedom of expression.  The combination of campaigning and journalism gives Index an unusual perspective and ensures that we can typically speak from an informed position. It is now time to cement this position and we are seeking a CEO who will fearlessly seek to put freedom of expression on the political, campaign and news agenda, both in a domestic context but more importantly with a global view.  

What you will do

  • Index on Censorship has a small team that punches well above its weight. You will ensure the organisation is well run and enjoys a healthy team culture, strong relationships with the board and diligent financial management, so that we are well placed to provide a platform for dissidents for another fifty years.
  • Along with other members of the team you will be a comfortable media performer with a presence on multimedia platforms. You will be confident in championing the cause of freedom of expression as a protected universal right for all.
  • You will be an excellent fundraiser, nurturing relationships and developing philanthropic partnerships which allow us to continue our advocacy campaigns and our magazine. We have a strong board with which you will work closely, while also building your own networks, to ensure we receive the financial backing we need from private individuals, corporations and foundation trusts.
  • You will build Index on Censorship as both a publisher promoting freedom of expression and a campaigning organisation – ensuring that voices are heard beyond those normally associated with our cause. Through building strong partnerships and networks you will enable us to grow our capacity to advocate for individuals and groups as well as on specific campaigns, including to the government.
  • You will lead the organisation in building relationships with other relevant organisations, in particular building Index’s standing as the leading voice amongst freedom of expression advocates.
  • You will work with key politicians and stakeholders from across the political spectrum in order to protect and promote freedom of expression at home and abroad.


The successful applicant will be expected to demonstrate the following:

  • A commitment to freedom of expression
  • Excellent fundraising skills with proven experience of all areas of fundraising including grant and bid writing
  • Excellent communication and media presentation skills
  • Excellent political and policy knowledge and experience of advocacy
  • In-depth knowledge of international current affairs, especially concerning issues of digital, academic, artistic and media freedom
  • The ability to build relationships and networks with partners and stakeholders
  • Strategic and staff management, as part of leadership experience at a senior level
  • Management experience of managing change and growth

The following knowledge, skills and experience are desirable:

  • An established public profile
  • Knowledge of foreign languages
  • Experience in addressing global freedom of expression issues
  • Knowledge of the civil liberties/human rights sector


Commensurate with experience


Full time, some national and international travel and flexible working required


Remote with regular meetings in London

How to apply

Send your CV and a cover letter of no more than three A4 pages outlining your suitability for the role to [email protected] by 25 February 2024.  Interviews will be held w/c 4 March.