Join the Index on Censorship youth board

Index on Censorship is recruiting for its next Youth Advisory Board.

The new board will hold the position for six months from June-November 2015, have the chance to participate in monthly Google Hangout On Air discussions about current freedom of expression issues around the world and the opportunity to write articles to promoting the #IndexDrawtheLine social media debate.

We are looking for enthusiastic young people, aged between 16-25, who will be committed to attending monthly meetings, be quick to respond to emails and who will contribute fresh and interesting ideas to the discussion. You do not need any previous experience to apply.

For information about the current youth board, click here.

Find out more about the Index Youth Advisory Board below:

What is the youth board?

The youth board is a specially selected group of young people aged 16-25 who will advise and inform Index on Censorship’s work, supporting our ambition to fight for free expression all around the world and ensuring our engagement with issues relevant to tomorrow’s leaders.

Why has Index started a youth board?

Index on Censorship is committed to fighting censorship not only now, but also in future generations, and we want to ensure that the realities and challenges experienced by young people in today’s world are properly reflected in our work.

Index is also aware that there are many who would like to commit some or all of their professional lives to fighting for human rights and the youth board is our way of supporting the broadest range of young people to develop their voice, find paths to freely expressing it and potential future employment in the human rights/media/arts sectors.

What does the youth board do?

Board members meet once a month via Google Hangout to discuss the most pressing freedom of expression issues of the moment and participate in research activities.

There is also the opportunity to get involved with events such as debates and workshops for our work with young people and events such as our annual Index Freedom of Expression Awards and Index magazine launches.

How do people get on the youth board?

Each youth board will sit for a term of 6 months. Current board members are invited to reapply up to one time. The board will be selected by Index on Censorship in an open and transparent manner and in accordance with our commitment to promoting diversity.

Why join the Index on Censorship youth board?

You get the chance to be associated with a media and human rights organisation and have the opportunity to discuss issues you feel strongly about with Index and with peers from around the world. At each board meeting we will also give you the chance to speak to someone senior within Index or the media/human rights/arts sectors, helping you to develop your knowledge and extend your personal networks. You’ll also be featured on our website.

Meet the current Youth Advisory Board here

#IndexDrawtheLine: How can we balance religious freedom and religious extremism?


Religious freedom and religious radicalism which leads to extremism has become an increasingly difficult balancing act in the digital age where presenting religious superiority through fear and “terror” is possible both locally and internationally at internet speeds.

The ongoing series of beheading videos released by the Islamic State and the showcase of kidnapped school girls by Nigeria’s Boko Haram on YouTube are both examples that test the extent to which the UN Convention of Human Rights can protect religious freedoms. According to a report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Egypt’s Youth Ministry are targeting young atheists vocal on social media about the dangers of religion. In Saudi Arabia, Raef Badawi was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2013 and received 600 lashes for discussing other versions of Islam, besides Wahhabism, online.

Article 18 of the Convention states that the “right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”. The interpretation of “practice” is a grey area – especially when the idea of violence as a form of punishment can be understood differently across various cultures. Is it right to criticise societies operating under Sharia law that include amputation as punishment, ‘hadd’ offences that include theft, and stoning for committing adultery?

Religious extremism should not only be questioned under the categories of violence or social unrest. Earlier this month, religious preservation in India has led to the banning of a Bollywood film scene deemed ‘un-Islamic’ in values. The actress in question was from Pakistan, and sentenced to 26 years in prison for acting out a marriage scene depicting the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter. In Russia, the state has banned the publication of Jehovah’s Witness material as the views are considered extremist.

In an environment where religious freedom is tested under different laws and cultures, where do you draw the line on international grounds to foster positive forms of belief?

This article was posted on 15 December 2014 at

Recap report: Draw the Line workshop with Ovalhouse Young Associates

Index on Censorship held its latest Draw the Line workshop with the young associates of Ovalhouse theatre in south London. The young associates are the theatre’s steering group for the national Truth about Youth initiative, which aims to challenge and change negative perceptions about young people, by supporting projects which enable them to work with adults, the media and the wider community. The group individually explored different freedom of expression issues before examining this month’s question “Do laws restrict or protect free speech?” in more detail as a group.


Young Associate Jordan Mitchell shares his experience of the workshop:

Going into the freedom of expression workshop, I had a couple of questions in mind; who defines freedom? Does freedom mean something different to each person? And how do we draw the line between free expression and infringing on another person’s freedom and sense of self? As a young associate, my colleagues and I are actively involved in the community, and one of the things we encourage and are encouraged to do ourselves is to appreciate different opinions, and respect that everyone has the right to that opinion.

The exercises were informative and engaging, particularly the “belief scale” (this involves being given a statement and having to answer how far you agree/disagree by positioning yourself on an invisible line across the room with either end representing “agree” or “disagree”). Often the questions posed to us led to a spread across the scale, which showed how varied opinions can be, even in a group containing people with similar interests. The great thing about it was that the reasoning put forward by people was incisive, and even if my view didn’t change, I understood and accepted that point of view.

One thing was reaffirmed in my mind at the end. Freedom of expression is limited dependent on who you know. Influence plays a big part, and tying in with the work that we do as young associates, something has to be done to build more platforms for people to be heard.





This article was originally posted on 28 October at