Banned Books Week: Another year, another stack of banned books

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]banned books collage-2017

An annual celebration of the freedom to read, Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in book censorship in schools, bookshops and libraries in the USA. 

Since then, over 11,300 books have been banned. Thankfully, there have always been those committed to challenging censorship, including authors, librarians, teachers and students. 

But what are the censors so afraid of? Here are 10 books banned in some way over the last year to give us an idea. 

13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher

The Netflix adaption of Jay Asher’s young adult novel 13 Reasons Why has been causing controversy over its exploration of teenage suicide ever since its release in March 2017. So much so that New Zealand’s classifications body created a whole new category of censorship, RP18, to restrict the showing of the series to anyone under the age of 18. 

Naturally, the treatment of the book itself has followed suit, with many calling for the book to be banned over its perceived irresponsible or unrealistic handling of issues of mental health. 

An official Mesa County Valley School District in Colorado, USA, briefly ordered librarians to pull 13 Reasons Why from school bookshelves in April 2017. However, after the intervention of a number of librarians, the curriculum director for the district reversed her decision. 

The works of Howard Zinn fall foul of US Republican lawmakers

In May 2017, US Republican senator Kim Hendren of Arkansas introduced a bill to ban the works of the late social activists and Boston University professor Howard Zinn from public schools

Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which is part of many school and college curriculums across the country, is an attempt to bring to light parts of US history that aren’t covered in-depth elsewhere, including equality movements throughout the 20th century. 

Many US conservatives argue that there is already too much focus on race and class, including slavery and the genocide of Native Americans, in school curriculums. Bills such as Hendren’s — and that of an Oklahoma lawmaker in 2015 which sought to correct the fact that the USA was not portrayed in a positive enough light in history curriculums — are intended to redress the situation. 

However, Hendren’s bill has only increased demand for the works of Zinn. Some 700 copies of A People’s History of the United States were sent free to teachers and librarians throughout Arkansas thanks to the controversy and thanks to a flood of donations copies are being given away to any middle or high school teacher or librarian in Arkansas who asks.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

In December 2016, a US school district has banned To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after a parent complained about use of racist language. The books were removed from classrooms and school libraries in Accomack County, Virginia. 

It came after one parent told a school board meeting: “I’m not disputing this is great literature, but there is so much racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that, and right now we are a nation divided as it is.”

Racism is a central theme in Mark Twain’s classic work, which explores the oppression of black slaves in pre-Civil War America. It includes the word “nigger” over 200 times. But it is a satire which tackles racism with irony and many fans of the book would agree that is, in fact, a great anti-racist novel.  Which is why so many were dismayed in 2011 when a new edition of Huckleberry Finn was released with all uses of the offending word removed.  

Likewise, the treatment of To Kill a Mockingbird seemed to be more motivated by the words characters use rather than its critique of racism.

The Adivasi Will Not Dance – Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

Along with thinking of the children, protecting the dignity of women has always been a mainstay of the moralists. In 1928 all of Chicago’s public libraries removed the Wizard of Oz for “depicting women in strong leadership roles”. Such attitudes are not a thing of the past

In August of this year, the Jharkhand government in eastern India banned The Adivasi Will Not Dance, a collection of short stories by the award-winning Indian writer Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, for daring to depict women from the Santhal tribe in a sexual way.

Authorities, claiming that the content of the book may disturb law and order situation in Jharkhand, began seizing copies and the author, a government doctor, was suspended from his position. 

Shekhar vowed not to edit a single word and advised all who have a problem with it to take the time to actually read it. 

Fanny Hill – John Cleland

Sexual content has been the number one reason for the banning of books this century, and just because a book wasn’t written in this century, doesn’t mean it escapes the censor’s pen. 

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, more widely known as Fanny Hill, an erotic novel first published in London in 1748, has been peeving off puritans since it was first printed. While it doesn’t contain a single rude word, John Cleland’s work is about a sex worker who enjoys her work. 

For this, the author was prosecuted for “corrupting the king’s subjects”. The book is one of the most banned in history, and in August 2017, a professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, Judith Hawley, said she would worry about upsetting students by teaching the work. Many in the media have accused Hawley of banning the book outright, some saying she removed it from a reading listbut she claims she hasn’t as it was never on the course in the first place. But when is a ban a ban? Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Hawley said of the book: “I use it less than I used to. In the 1980s I both protested against the opening of a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill. Nowadays I’d be afraid of causing offence to my students.” She also raised concerns that her “students would slap me with a trigger warning”. Not teaching something for fear of offending students or to avoid becoming a trigger warning does amount to a ban. 

“We shouldn’t assume that pornography is really speaking about sex, or that the only way to speak about sex is pornography,” she later added, but then expressed her worry at the “pornification of modern culture”.

LGBT books banned at Honk Kong book fair

Unless a book contains strictly conventional values and conduct, it has probably irked someone in a position of power somewhere along the way. Unfortunately, this means if you write a book called Gay Soldier’s Diary, you’re likely to to face trouble. 

This was the case at the Hong Kong Book fair in July, where several titles, including Gay Soldier’s Diary, were banned on the grounds that they were “indecent”. The books depict no violence or nudity, so don’t actually breach the fair’s rules on indecency, but this didn’t stop organisers removing nine of 15 titles at the Taiwan Indie Publishers Alliance stall, including A Gentleman’s Wedding and Crying Girls.

Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

In 1988, when official censorship ceased in the Soviet Union, banned publications suddenly became easily accessible to the general public. Works by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Leon Trotsky and even Henry Kissinger, which were critical of the Soviet Union or deemed in some way to be subversive. 

Whenever the vaults in China finally open, Chinese citizens will find curiosities like Winnie the Pooh, English writer AA Milne’s children’s series. 

Pooh Bear’s only crime was to resemble China’s current president Xi Jinping, which some Chinese dissidents were only too eager to point out. Memes that went viral included a 2013 photo of a meeting between Xi and then-US president Barack Obama alongside a picture of Winnie the Pooh and his friend Tigger. As a result, the Chinese name for Winnie the Pooh (Little Bear Winnie) is blocked on Chinese social media sites and those who write”Little Bear Winnie” on the site Weibo are met with an error message.

Breaking the Silence – G25

G25 is a group of 25 Malay-Muslim leaders whose goal is to preserve the basic rights of freedom of expression and worship in Malaysia, where Islam is the official religion.

A book by the group, Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy, has been banned after the Malaysian government deemed it to be “prejudicial to public order”According to G25’s Noor Griffin, “it is meant to encourage debates about the Islamic religion”. 

Deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi authorised the ban on the book on 14 June.

In 2014, a comic called Ultraman was banned in the country because it referred to the hero as “Allah”. 

Little Bill – Bill Cosby

Challenges to Bill Cosby’s Little Bill children’s book series followed allegations of sexual assault were made against the comedian by a number of women, reaching back over many years. The censoring of Little Bill books is believed to the first time a title has been targeted solely for its author and not its content, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Director James LaRue said.

This article was updated on 28 September to add more context to Judith Hawley’s views on Fanny Hill.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”2″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1506589920727-40713b18-3658-2″ taxonomies=”8820, 6696″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

#IndexAwards2017: Breaking the Silence brings Hebron to Tel Aviv


Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organisation consisting of Israeli veteran combatants, aims to collect and share testimonies about the realities of military operations in the Occupied Territories. Since 2004, the group has collected over 1,000 (mainly anonymous) statements from Israelis who have served their military duty in the West Bank and Gaza.

In 2014, Breaking the Silence published 111 testimonies from over 60 soldiers who served in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. The organisation reached out to soldiers directly after the cessation of bombing in Gaza and published a book of its findings in May 2015. For publishing these frank accounts Breaking the Silence has come under repeated attack from the Israeli government.

A Breaking the Silence guided tour of Hebron and the South Hebron Hills

2017 Freedom of Expression Awards linkIn 2016 pressure on the organisation became particularly pointed and personal, with state-sponsored legal challenges, denunciations from the Israeli cabinet, physical attacks on staff members and damages to property. Led by Israeli politicians including the prime minister, and defence minister, there have been persistent attempts to force the organisation to identify a soldier whose anonymous testimony was part of a publication raising suspicions of war crimes in Gaza. Losing the case would set a precedent that would make it almost impossible for Breaking the Silence to operate in the future. The government has also recently enacted a law that would ban the organisation’s widely acclaimed high school education programme.

Following the attacks on the organisation, hundreds of soldiers began to break their own silence in a spontaneous outpouring of support for the group. The soldiers, who are non-Breaking the Silence testifiers, posted pictures on social media of their army service. This included testimonies from soldiers who served in the First and Second Intifadas and even the Lebanon War. Public figures, musicians, artists, and hundreds of individuals, were involved in this wave of support.

Israel Defence Forces soldier manning a checkpoint

In March 2017, Israel’s state prosecutor asked a court to dismiss its previous request to force Breaking the Silence to provide details that were liable to expose the identity of a soldier whose testimony raised suspicions of war crimes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content” equal_height=”yes” el_class=”text_white” css=”.vc_custom_1490258749071{background-color: #cb3000 !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Support the Index Fellowship.” font_container=”tag:p|font_size:28|text_align:center” use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”|||”][vc_column_text]

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Global heroes battling censorship announced in Index Freedom of Expression Awards shortlist

  • Judges include actor Noma Dumezweni; former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown
  • Sixteen courageous individuals and organisations who fight for freedom of expression in every part of the world

A Zimbabwean pastor who was arrested by authorities last week for his #ThisFlag campaign, an Iranian Kurdish journalist covering his life as an interned Australian asylum seeker, one of China’s most notorious political cartoonists, and an imprisoned Russian human rights activist are among those shortlisted for the 2017 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards.

Drawn from more than 400 crowdsourced nominations, the shortlist celebrates artists, writers, journalists and campaigners overcoming censorship and fighting for freedom of expression against immense obstacles. Many of the 16 shortlisted nominees are regularly targeted by authorities or by criminal and extremist groups for their work: some face regular death threats, others criminal prosecution or exile.

“The creativity and bravery of the shortlist nominees in challenging restrictions on freedom of expression reminds us that a small act — from a picture to a poem — can have a big impact. Our nominees have faced severe penalties for standing up for their beliefs. These awards recognise their courage and commitment to free speech,” said Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of campaigning nonprofit Index on Censorship.

Awards are offered in four categories: arts, campaigning, digital activism and journalism.

Nominees include Pastor Evan Mawarire whose frustration with Zimbabwe’s government led him to the #ThisFlag campaign; Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian Kurdish journalist who documents the life of indefinitely-interned Australian asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea; China’s Wang Liming, better known as Rebel Pepper, a political cartoonist who lampoons the country’s leaders; Ildar Dadin, an imprisoned Russian opposition activist, who became the first person convicted under the country’s public assembly law; Daptar, a Dagestani initiative tackling women’s issues like female genital mutilation that are rarely discussed publicly in the country; and Serbia’s Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK), which was founded by a group of journalists to combat pervasive corruption and organised crime.

Other nominees include Hungary’s Two-tail Dog Party, a group of satirists who parody the country’s political discourse; Honduran LGBT rights organisation Arcoiris, which has had six activists murdered in the past year for providing support to the LGBT community  and lobbying the country’s government; Luaty Beirão, a rapper from Angola, who uses his music to unmask the country’s political corruption; and Maldives Independent, a website involved in revealing endemic corruption at the highest levels in the country despite repeated intimidation.

Judges for this year’s awards, now in its 17th year, are Harry Potter actor Noma Dumezweni, Hillsborough lawyer Caiolfhionn Gallagher, former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, designer Anab Jain and music producer Stephen Budd.

Dumezweni, who plays Hermione in the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was shortlisted earlier this year for an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress. Speaking about the importance of the Index Awards she said: “Freedom of expression is essential to help challenge our perception of the world”.

Winners, who will be announced at a gala ceremony in London on 19 April, become Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Fellows and are given support for their work, including training in areas such as advocacy and communications.

“The GreatFire team works anonymously and independently but after we were awarded a fellowship from Index it felt like we had real world colleagues. Index helped us make improvements to our overall operations, consulted with us on strategy and were always there for us, through the good times and the pain,” Charlie Smith of GreatFire, 2016 Freedom of Expression Awards Digital Activism Fellow.

This year, the Freedom of Expression Awards are being supported by sponsors including SAGE Publishing, Google, Vodafone, media partner CNN, VICE News, Doughty Street Chambers, Psiphon and Gorkana. Illustrations of the nominees were created by Sebastián Bravo Guerrero.

Notes for editors:

  • Index on Censorship is a UK-based non-profit organisation that publishes work by censored writers and artists and campaigns against censorship worldwide.
  • More detail about each of the nominees is included below.
  • The winners will be announced at a ceremony at The Unicorn Theatre, London, on 19 April.

For more information, or to arrange interviews with any of those shortlisted, please contact: Sean Gallagher on 0207 963 7262 or [email protected]. More biographical information and illustrations of the nominees are available at

Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards nominees 2017



Luaty Beirão, Angola

Rapper Luaty Beirão, also known as Ikonoklasta, has been instrumental in showing the world the hidden face of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos’s rule. For his activism Beirão has been beaten up, had drugs planted on him and, in June 2015, was arrested alongside 14 other people planning to attend a meeting to discuss a book on non-violent resistance. Since being released in 2016, Beirão has been undeterred attempting to stage concerts that the authorities have refused to license and publishing a book about his captivity entitled “I Was Freer Then”, claiming “I would rather be in jail than in a state of fake freedom where I have to self-censor”.  

Rebel Pepper, China

Wang Liming, better known under the pseudonym Rebel Pepper, is one of China’s most notorious political cartoonists. For satirising Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and lampooning the ruling Communist Party, Rebel Pepper has been repeatedly persecuted. In 2014, he was forced to remain in Japan, where he was on holiday, after serious threats against him were posted on government-sanctioned forums. The Chinese state has since disconnected him from his fan base by repeatedly deleting his social media accounts, he alleges his conversations with friends and family are under state surveillance, and self-imposed exile has made him isolated, bringing significant financial struggles. Nonetheless, Rebel Pepper keeps drawing, ferociously criticising the Chinese regime.

Fahmi Reza, Malaysia

On 30 January 2016, Malaysian graphic designer Fahmi Reza posted an image online of Prime Minister Najib Razak in evil clown make-up. From T-shirts to protest placards, and graffiti on streets to a sizeable public sticker campaign, the image and its accompanying anti-sedition law slogan #KitaSemuaPenghasut (“we are all seditious”) rapidly evolved into a powerful symbol of resistance against a government seen as increasingly corrupt and authoritarian. Despite the authorities’ attempts to silence Reza, who was banned from travel and has since been detained and charged on two separate counts under Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Act, he has refused to back down.

Two-tailed Dog Party, Hungary

A group of satirists and pranksters who parody political discourse in Hungary with artistic stunts and creative campaigns, the Two-tailed Dog Party have become a vital alternative voice following the rise of the national conservative government led by Viktor Orban. When Orban introduced a national consultation on immigration and terrorism in 2015, and plastered cities with anti-immigrant billboards, the party launched their own mock questionnaires and a popular satirical billboard campaign denouncing the government’s fear-mongering tactics. Relentlessly attempting to reinvigorate public debate and draw attention to under-covered or taboo topics, the party’s efforts include recently painting broken pavement to draw attention to a lack of public funding.


Arcoiris, Honduras

Established in 2003, LGBT organisation Arcoiris, meaning ‘rainbow’, works on all levels of Honduran society to advance LGBT rights. Honduras has seen an explosion in levels of homophobic violence since a military coup in 2009. Working against this tide, Arcoiris provide support to LGBT victims of violence, run awareness initiatives, promote HIV prevention programmes and directly lobby the Honduran government and police force. From public marches to alternative awards ceremonies, their tactics are diverse and often inventive. Between June 2015 and March 2016, six members of Arcoiris were killed for this work. Many others have faced intimidation, harassment and physical attacks. Some have had to leave the country because of threats they were receiving.

Breaking the Silence, Israel

Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organisation consisting of ex-Israeli military conscripts, aims to collect and share testimonies about the realities of military operations in the Occupied Territories. Since 2004, the group has collected over 1,000 (mainly anonymous) statements from Israelis who have served their military duty in the West Bank and Gaza. For publishing these frank accounts the organisation has repeatedly come under fire from the Israeli government. In 2016 the pressure on the organisation became particularly pointed and personal, with state-sponsored legal challenges, denunciations from the Israeli cabinet, physical attacks on staff members and damages to property. Led by Israeli politicians including the prime minister, and defence minister, there have been persistent attempts to force the organisation to identify a soldier whose anonymous testimony was part of a publication raising suspicions of war crimes in Gaza. Losing the case would set a precedent that would make it almost impossible for Breaking the Silence to operate in the future. The government has also recently  enacted a law that would bar the organisation’s widely acclaimed high school education programme.

Ildar Dadin, Russia

A long-term opposition and LGBT rights activist, Ildar Dadin was the first, and remains the only, person to be convicted under Russia’s 2014 public assembly law that prohibits the “repeated violation of the order of organising or holding meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches or picketing”. Attempting to circumvent this restrictive law, Dadin held a series of one-man pickets against human rights abuses – an enterprise for which he was arrested and sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2015. In November 2016, website Meduza published a letter smuggled to his wife in which Dadin wrote that he was being tortured and abuse was endemic in Russian jails. The letter, a brave move for a serving prisoner, had wide resonance, prompting a reaction from the government and an investigation. Against his will, Dadin was transferred and disappeared within the Russian prison system until a wave of public protest led to his location being revealed in January 2017. Dadin was released on February 26 after a supreme court order.

Maati Monjib, Morocco

A well-known academic who teaches African studies and political history at the University of Rabat since returning from exile, Maati Monjib co-founded Freedom Now, a coalition of Moroccan human rights defenders who seek to promote the rights of Moroccan activists and journalists in a country ranked 131 out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. His work campaigning for press freedom – including teaching investigative journalism workshops and using of a smartphone app called Story Maker designed to support citizen journalism – has made him a target for the authorities who insist that this work is the exclusive domain of state police. For his persistent efforts, Monjib is currently on trial for “undermining state security” and “receiving foreign funds.”

Digital Activism

Jensiat, Iran

Despite growing public knowledge of global digital surveillance capabilities and practices, it has often proved hard to attract mainstream public interest in the issue. This continues to be the case in Iran where even with widespread VPN usage, there is little real awareness of digital security threats. With public sexual health awareness equally low, the three people behind Jensiat, an online graphic novel, saw an an opportunity to marry these challenges. Dealing with issues linked to sexuality and cyber security in a way that any Iranian can easily relate to, the webcomic also offers direct access to verified digital security resources. Launched in March 2016, Jensiat has had around 1.2 million unique readers and was rapidly censored by the Iranian government.

Bill Marczak, United States

A schoolboy resident of Bahrain and PhD candidate in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, Bill Marczak co-founded Bahrain Watch in 2013. Seeking to promote effective, accountable and transparent governance, Bahrain Watch works by launching investigations and running campaigns in direct response to social media posts coming from activists on the front line. In this context, Marczak’s personal research has proved highly effective, often identifying new surveillance technologies and targeting new types of information controls that governments are employing to exert control online, both in Bahrain and across the region. In 2016 Marczak investigated several government attempts to track dissidents and journalists, notably identifying a previously unknown weakness in iPhones that had global ramifications.

#ThisFlag and Evan Mawarire, Zimbabwe

In May 2016, Baptist pastor Evan Mawarire unwittingly began the most important protest movement in Zimbabwe’s recent history when he posted a video of himself draped in the Zimbabwean flag, expressing his frustration at the state of the nation. A subsequent series of YouTube videos and the hashtag Mawarire used, #ThisFlag, went viral, sparking protests and a boycott called by Mawarire, which he estimates was attended by over eight million people. A scale of public protest previously inconceivable, the impact was so strong that private possession of Zimbabwe’s national flag has since been banned. The pastor temporarily left the country following death threats and was arrested in early February as he returned to his homeland.

Turkey Blocks, Turkey

In a country marked by increasing authoritarianism, a strident crackdown on press and social media as well as numerous human rights violations, Turkish-British technologist Alp Toker brought together a small team to investigate internet restrictions. Using Raspberry Pi technology they built an open source tool able to reliably monitor and report both internet shut downs and power blackouts in real time. Using their tool, Turkey Blocks have since broken news of 14 mass-censorship incidents during several politically significant events in 2016. The tool has proved so successful that it has begun to be implemented elsewhere globally.


Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island, Papua New Guinea/Australia (he is an Iranian refugee)

Iranian Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani fled the city of Ilam in Iran in May 2013 after the police raided the Kurdish cultural heritage magazine he had co-founded, arresting 11 of his colleagues. He travelled to Australia by boat, intending to claim asylum, but less than a month after arriving he was forcibly relocated to a “refugee processing centre” in Papua New Guinea that had been newly opened. Imprisoned alongside nearly 1000 men who have been ordered to claim asylum in Papua New Guinea or return home, Boochani has been passionately documenting their life in detention ever since. Publicly advertised by the Australian Government as a refugee deterrent, life in the detention centre is harsh. For the first 2 years, Boochani wrote under a pseudonym. Until 2016 he circumvented a ban on mobile phones by trading personal items including his shoes with local residents. And while outside journalists are barred, Boochani has refused to be silent, writing numerous stories via Whatsapp and even shooting a feature film with his phone.

Daptar, Dagestan, Russia

In a Russian republic marked by a clash between the rule of law, the weight of traditions, and the growing influence of Islamic fundamentalism, Daptar, a website run by journalists Zakir Magomedov and Svetlana Anokhina, writes about issues affecting women, which are little reported on by other local media.  Meaning “diary”, Daptar seeks to promote debate and in 2016 they ran a landmark story about female genital mutilation in Dagestan, which broke the silence surrounding that practice and began a regional and national conversation about FGM. The small team of journalists, working alongside a volunteer lawyer and psychologist, also tries to provide help to the women they are in touch with.

KRIK, Serbia

Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) is a new independent investigative website which was founded by a team of young Serbian journalists intent on exposing organised crime and extortion in their country which is ranked as having widespread corruption by Transparency International. In their first year they have published several high-impact investigations, including forcing Serbia’s prime minister to admit that senior officials had been behind nocturnal demolitions in a Belgrade neighbourhood and revealing meetings between drug barons, the ministry of police and the minister of foreign affairs. KRIK have repeatedly come under attack online and offline for their work –threatened and allegedly under surveillance by state officials, defamed in the pages of local tabloids, and suffering abuse including numerous death threats on social media.

Maldives Independent, Maldives

Website Maldives Independent, which provides news in English, is one of the few remaining independent media outlets in a country that ranks 112 out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. In August 2016 the Maldives passed a law criminalising defamation and empowering the state to impose heavy fines and shut down media outlets for “defamatory” content. In September, Maldives Independent’s office was violently attacked and later raided by the police, after the release of an Al Jazeera documentary exposing government corruption that contained interviews with editor Zaheena Rasheed, who had to flee for her safety. Despite the pressure, the outlet continues to hold the government to account.