Category : News and features

Running rings round liberals

Getting 16-year-old Linda Playfoot to take her school to court for not letting her wear a ‘purity ring’ to classes was as clever a way of wrong-footing liberal folk as I’ve seen. Strict adherence to school uniforms is the sort of thing religious schools are famous for. A liberal is far more likely to want […]

Al Qaeda threatens Britain over Rushdie honour

What took al Qaeda so long? Ayman al Zawahiri has been a little slow in making a response to Salman Rushdie’s knighthood. Is it perhaps because there actually hasn’t been much Muslim anger – beyond a few pockets of politically motivated protest? Al Qaeda are taking the opportunity to stir it up again – just […]

Index on Censorship welcomes release of Alan Johnston

‘It became quite hard to imagine normal life again,’ Johnston said of his ordeal. ‘The last 16 weeks have been the very worst of my life. I was in the hands of people who were dangerous and unpredictable. I literally dreamt many times of being free and always woke up back in that room.’ On […]

A victim of Israel’s atomic bluff

How many times is Israel going to make an example of Mordechai Vanunu? He was released from prison in 2004 after serving 18 years – much of it in solitary confinement. He has just been jailed again for ‘talking to foreigners’. The stringent terms of his release three years ago forbade him from having any […]

Cambodia: Journalists hounded by ‘forest mafiosi’

Journalists and environmental activists investigating deforestation in Cambodia are facing harassment, death threats and censorship after a report accused senior officials within the country’s government of involvement in illegal logging, kidnapping and attempted murder. In Cambodia’s Family Trees UK-based campaign group Global Witness claims that leading figures in Cambodia’s government – including relatives of Prime […]

Falling into a trap

Salman Rushdie is back in the limelight in the Islamic world – this time as Sir Salman. His inclusion in the Queen’s birthday honours list this year has rekindled memories of 1988-89, when the publication of his controversial book The Satanic Verses provoked orthodox Muslims. The book was declared blasphemous and Iran had placed a […]

A message for Gordon

Anyone who believes in the rights to freedom of expression and information must welcome Gordon Brown’s promise of a more open government. An open government is one which hears the voices of its citizens – all its citizens – even when their demands are clamorous, their tone strident and their rhetoric vigorous. It does not […]

Zimbabwe: Index on Censorship Award winner hospitalised by police

Zimbabwean security officers used brutal methods to disperse a peaceful march by approximately 100 members of the Law Society, including it’s president, Index on Censorship award winner Beatrice Mtetwa, outside the High Court in the capital Harare last Tuesday (May 8). The lawyers were protesting the refusal of the state to comply with two High […]

Russia: Freedom report hits raw nerve

Freedom House’s annual report Freedom of the Press, released last month, caused an outcry over the state of local media in Russia. Freedom House, a leading American civil rights watch-dog, put Russia on 164th place among 195 countries, and named the country “Not Free”. International press-freedom groups supported this evaluation: according to New-York based Committee […]

World Press Fredom Day 2007

BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped in March, and suddenly press freedom, in the most literal sense, has become a talking point. Websites and blogs all over the world carry badges calling for his release. Last week, BBC colleagues held a vigil, while an image of Johnston was projected on to the wall of Television […]

Iran plans to monitor phone messages

As part of a renewed crackdown on personal freedoms in Iran, the latest government-sanctioned curb is on mobile messaging. Iran’s Ministry of Telecommunications announced this week that the Iranian government is now in the process of acquiring the technology to filter ‘immoral’ multimedia mobile messages – that is, any video, image or audio messages deemed […]