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A new editor, Tiananmen and the fall of the Berlin Wall
23 Jul 2020
BY JEMIMAH STEINFELD

In March, Index publish the World Statement by the International Committee for the Defence of Salman Rushdie in support of “the right of all people to express their ideas and beliefs and to discuss them with their critics on the basis of mutual tolerance, free from censorship, intimidation and violence”. Rushdie goes onto be a regular writer for the magazine.

That same year Index publish the Hunger Strike Declaration from three leaders in Tiananmen Square including Liu Xiaobo. Liu, whose work is published in Index several times after, goes onto win the Nobel Peace Prize. He dies in 2017 having spent years in prison in China.

In November the Berlin Wall falls. Despite the change in geopolitics, the abuses to free expression continue and with that Index continue.

Andrew Graham-Yool also takes over as editor of Index. In the 1960s Graham-Yool had joined the Buenos Aires Herald, a long-running English-language newspaper, where he later made enemies with the new leadership by reporting extensively on Argentina’s growing number of “disappeared” persons. In addition to publishing this information in Argentina, Graham-Yooll secretly sent information to Index and Amnesty International. Graham-Yooll faced both death threats from private individuals and a serious risk that the government would make him disappear. He escaped in part by being arrested and charged with condoning violence; at his trial, he was found not guilty, but the judge warned him to leave Argentina as soon as he could. Graham-Yooll fled to the UK and went to work for the Telegraph, before Index. In 1994, Graham-Yooll determined it was at last safe enough to return to Argentina, so he left Index to work for the Buenos Aires Herald as its editor. In 2002, he received the Order of the British Empire for his life’s work.

Jemimah Steinfeld

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