In March the first ever issue of the magazine is published under the title Index (“on Censorship” is later added). From the beginning, Index declare its mission to stand up for free expression as a fundamental human right for people everywhere. It is particularly vocal in its coverage of the oppressive military regimes of southern Europe and Latin America, but is clear that censorship is not only a problem in faraway dictatorships. The first issue includes a never-before-published poem, written while serving a sentence in a labour camp, by Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who went on to win a Nobel prize later that year. Articles are published from across the globe, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Greece, Portugal, USA, the Soviet Union, with poems from Natalya Gorbanyevskaya, a poet who had been confined to a mental hospital. It also includes the first publication in any language of a story by Milovan Djilas, who was unable to publish anything in his own country since his trial in 1963.

Also included in the first issue is the Index “Index”, which is round-up of the main and most recent free speech issues around the world. Index Index runs in every issue until 2008.

In the September issue, Nadine Gordimer, a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, writes her first article for Index. Gordimer stands firmly against apartheid in South Africa. She goes on to write for Index many times.