Too much news?

The last week has been unprecedented in global news – although I do feel that every time we see the word unprecedented to refer to current events we’re just tempting fate to make it even worse. Our news has been dominated by crucially important and life-changing stories – the economic turmoil in the UK; the impact of global inflation; the real-life effects of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian on the east coast of Canada and the USA; Putin’s annexation of four more Ukrainian territories; the election of the most right-wing prime minister since Mussolini in Italy and; the suspected nation-state-orchestrated sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines. This has been a busy news week. But beyond the headlines there have been so many other stories, other crises, other issues that in a ‘normal’ week (if there is such a thing anymore) would have demanded our attention.

So this week – I want to do a round-up of what we’ve missed as the world has become an even scarier place for too many people. To remind us all of what else is happening in the world that we’ve missed as we have been glued to the news that is struggling to report on everything that has happened.

These are just a few of the dozens of stories that many of us missed this week while the world is in turmoil. As ever the role of Index is to make sure that these stories and those of dissidents are not ignored or forgotten.

Contents – Climate of fear: The silencing of the planet’s indigenous peoples

Cover illustration, Autumn 2021 (50-3) Wilson Borja

The Autumn issue of Index magazine focuses on the struggle for environmental justice by indigenous campaigners. Anticipating the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, in November, we’ve chosen to give voice to people who are constantly ignored in these discussions.

Writer Emily Brown talks to Yvonne Weldon, the first aboriginal mayoral candidate for Sydney, who is determined to fight for a green economy. Kaya Genç investigates the conspiracy theories and threats concerning green campaigners in Turkey, while Issa Sikiti da Silva reveals the openly hostile conditions that environmental activists have been through in Uganda.

Going to South America, Beth Pitts interviews two indigenous activists in Ecuador on declining populations and which methods they’ve been adopting to save their culture against the global giants extracting their resources.

Cover of Index on Censorship Autumn 2021 (50-3) Cover of Index on Censorship Autumn 2021 (50-3)[/caption]

A climate of fear, by Martin Bright: Climate change is an era-defining issue. We must be able to speak out about it.

The Index: Free expression around the world today: the inspiring voices, the people who have been imprisoned and the trends, legislation and technology which are causing concern.

Pile-ons and censorship, by Maya Forstater: Maya Forstater was at the heart of an employment tribunal with significant ramifications. Read her response the Index’s last issue which discussed her case.


The West is frightened of confronting the bully, by John Sweeney: Meet Bill Browder. The political activist and financier most hated by Putin and the Kremlin.

An impossible choice, by Ruchi Kumar: The rapid advance of Taliban forces in Afghanistan has left little to no hope for journalists.

Words under fire, by Rachael Jolley: When oppressive regimes target free speech, libraries are usually top of their lists.

Letters from Lukashenka’s prisoners, by Maria Kalesnikava, Volha Takarchuk, Aliaksandr Vasilevich and Maxim Znak: Standing up to Europe’s last dictator lands you in jail. Read the heartbreaking testimony of the detained activists.

Bad blood, by Kelly Duda: How did an Arkansas blood scandal have reverberations around the world?

Welcome to hell, by Benjamin Lynch: Yangon’s Insein prison is where Myanmar’s dissidents are locked up. One photojournalist tells us of his time there.

Cartoon, by Ben Jennings: Are balanced debates really balanced? Ask Satan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Special Report” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:22|text_align:left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Credit: Xinhua/Alamy Live News

It’s not easy being green, by Kaya Genç: The Turkish government is fighting environmental protests with conspiracy theories.

It’s in our nature to fight, by Beth Pitts: The indigenous people of Ecuador are fighting for their future.

Respect for tradition, by Emily Brown: Australia has a history of “selective listening” when it comes to First Nations voices. But Aboriginal campaigners stand ready to share traditional knowledge.

The write way to fight, by Liz Jensen: Extinction Rebellion’s literary wing show that words remain our primary tool for protests.

Change in the pipeline? By Bridget Byrne: Indigenous American’s water is at risk. People are responding.

The rape of Uganda, by Issa Sikiti da Silva: Uganda’s natural resources continue to be plundered.Cigar smoke and mirrors, by James Bloodworth: Cuba’s propaganda must not blight our perception of it.

Denialism is not protected speech, by Oz Katerji: Should challenging facts be protected speech?

Permissible weapons, by Peter Hitchens: Peter Hitchens responds to Nerma Jelacic on her claims for disinformation in Syria.

No winners in Israel’s Ice Cream War, by Jo-Ann Mort: Is the boycott against Israel achieving anything?

Better out than in? By Mark Glanville: Can the ancient Euripides play The Bacchae explain hooliganism on the terraces?

Russia’s Greatest Export: Hostility to the free press, by Mikhail Khordokovsky: A billionaire exile tells us how Russia leads the way in the tactics employed to silence journalists.

Remembering Peter R de Vries, by Frederike Geeerdink: Read about the Dutch journalist gunned down for doing his job.

A right royal minefield, by John Lloyd: Whenever one of the Royal Family are interviewed, it seems to cause more problems.

A bulletin of frustration, by Ruth Smeeth: Climate change affects us all and we must fight for the voices being silenced by it. Credit: Gregory Maassen/Alamy[/caption]

The man who blew up America, by David Grundy: Poet, playwright, activist and critic Amiri Baraka remains a controversial figure seven years after his death.

Suffering in silence, by Benjamin Lynch and Dr Parwana Fayyaz The award-winning poetry that reminds us of the values of free thought and how crucial it is for Afghan women.

Heart and Sole, by Mark Frary and Katja Oskamp: A fascinating extract gives us an insight into the bland lives of some of those who did not welcome the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Secret Agenda, by Martin Bright: Reforms to the UK’s Official Secret Act could create a chilling effect for journalists reporting on information in the public interest.

Contents – Whistleblowers: the lifeblood of democracy


Index’s new issue of the magazine looks at the importance of whistleblowers in upholding our democracies.

Featured are stories such as the case of Reality Winner, written by her sister Brittany. Despite being released from prison, the former intelligence analyst is still unable to speak out after she revealed documents that showed attempted Russian interference in US elections.

Playwright Tom Stoppard speaks to Sarah Sands about his life and new play title ‘Leopoldstatd’ and, 50 years on from the Pentagon Papers, the “original whistleblower” Daniel Ellsberg speaks to Index .[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Up front” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:22|text_align:left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Holding the rich and powerful to account by Martin Bright: We look at key whistleblower cases around the world and why they matter for free speech

The Index: Free expression round the world today: the inspiring voices, the people who have been imprisoned and the trends, legislation and technology which are causing concern

Why journalists need emergency safe havens by Rachael Jolley: Legal experts including Amal Clooney have called for a new type of visa to protect journalists[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Features” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:22|text_align:left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Spinning bomb by Nerma Jelacic: Disinformation and the assault on truth in Syria learned its lessons from the war in Bosnia

Identically bad by Helen Fortescue: Two generations of photojournalists document the political upheaval shaping Belarus 30 years apart

Always looking over our shoulders by Henry McDonald: Across the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland again, journalists are facing increasing threats

Crossing red lines by Fréderike Geerdink: The power struggle between the PUK and KDP is bad news for press freedom in Kurdistan

Cartoon by Ben Jennings: The reptaphile elite are taking over! So say the conspiracy theorists, anyway

People first but not the media by Issa Sikiti da Silva: There was hope for press freedom when Felix Tshisekedi took power in DR Congo, but that is now dwindling

Controlling the Covid message by Danish Raza and Somak Ghoshal: Covid-19 has crippled the Indian health service, but the government is more concerned with avoiding criticism[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Special Report” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:22|text_align:left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Reality Winner. Credit: Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle

Speaking for my silenced sister by Brittany Winner: Meet Reality Winner, the whistleblower still unable to speak out despite being released from prison

Feeding the machine by Mark Frary: Alexei Navalny has been on hunger strike in a penal colony outside Moscow, since his sentencing. Index publishes his writings from prison

An ancient virtue by Ian Foxley: A whistleblower explains the ancient Greek idea of parrhesia that is at the core of the whistleblower principle

Truthteller by Kaya Genç: Journalist Faruk Bildirici tells Index how one of Turkey’s most respected newspapers became an ally of Islamists

The price of revealing oil’s dirty secrets: Whistleblower Jonathan Taylor has been hounded since revealing serious cases of bribery within the oil industry

The original whistleblower: 50 years on from the Pentagon Papers, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg speaks to Index

Fishrot, the global stench of scandal: Former Samherji employee Johannes Stefansson exposed corruption and the plundering of Namibian fish stocks[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Comment” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:22|text_align:left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]What is a woman? by Kathleen Stock and This is hate, not debate by Phoenix Andrews: Two experts debate the case of Maya Forstater, in which Index legally intervened, and if the matter is a case of hate speech

Battle cries by Abbad Yahya: The lost voice of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

A nightmare you can’t wake up from by Nandar: A feminist activist forced to flee her home country after the military coup in February

Trolled by the president by Michela Wrong: Rwanda’s leader Paul Kagame is known for attacking journalists. What is it like to incur his wrath?

When the boot is on the other foot by Ruth Smeeth: People must fight not only for their own rights, but for the free speech of the people they do not agree with[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Culture” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:22|text_align:left”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Playwright Tom Stoppard. Credit: Liba Taylor/Alamy Stock Photo

Uncancelled by Sarah Sands: An interview with the playwright Sir Tom Stoppard on his new play, Leopoldstadt, and the inspiration behind it

No light at the end of the tunnel by Benjamin Lynch: Yemeni writer Bushra al-Maqtari provides us with an exclusive extract of her award-winning novel, Behind the Sun

Dead poets’ society by Mark Frary: The military in Myanmar is targeting dissenting voices. Poets were among the first to be killed

Politics or passion? by Mark Glanville: Contemporary poet Stanley Moss on his long-standing love for China

Are we becoming Hungary-lite? by Jolyon Rubinstein: Comedian Jolyon Rubinstein on the death of satire[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row disable_element=”yes”][vc_column][three_column_post title=”You may also like to read” category_id=”42664″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Contents – China’s global brand: a century of silencing dissent

Illustration: Badiucao

Index looks back on 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party and how their censorship laws continue to shape the lives of people around the world and threaten their right to free speech. Inside this edition are articles by exiled writer Ma Jian and an interview with Facebook’s vice-president for global affairs, former UK deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg; as well as an exclusive short story from acclaimed writer Shalom Auslander.

Acting editor Martin Bright said: “I am delighted to introduce the latest edition of Index which marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the magazine and I am proud that we are continuing the founders’ legacy of opposition to totalitarianism.”

“In this Spring edition of Index we are particularly pleased to publish an exclusive essay by the celebrated Chinese writer Ma Jian, who suggests that an alternative tradition of tolerance and freedom is still possible.”

A century of silencing dissent by Martin Bright: We look at 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party and the methods of control that it has adapted to stifle free expression and spread its ideas throughout the world

The Index: Free expression round the world today: the inspiring voices, the people who have been imprisoned and the trends, legislation and technology which are causing concern

Fighting back against the menace of Slapps by Jessica Ní Mhainín: Governments continue to threaten journalists with vexatious law suits to stop critical reporting

Friendless Facebook by Sarah Sands: An interview with Facebook vice-president Nick Clegg about being a British liberal at the heart of the US tech giant

Standing up to a global giant by Steven Donziger: A lawyer who has gone head to head with the oil industry since 1993 at great personal cost tells his story

Fear and loathing in Belarus by Yahuen Merkis and Larysa Shchryakova: The crackdown on journalism has continued with arrests. Read the testimony of two reporters

Killed by the truth by Bilal Ahmad Pandow: Babar Qadri was one of Kashmir’s most strident voices, until he was gunned down in his garden

Cartoon by Ben Jennings: Arguments about the removal of statues cause a stir

The martial art of free speech by Ari Deller and Laura Janner-Klausner: The question of Cancel Culture continues to rage. Is it really a problem?

Ma Jian

Burning through censorship: Censorship-busting online organisation GreatFire celebrates its 10th anniversary

The party is your idol by Tianyu M. Fang: China’s propaganda is adapting to target young people

Past imperfect by Rachael Jolley: Four historians explain how the CCP shaped China and ask if globalisation will be its undoing

Turkey changes its tune by Kaya Genç: Uighur refugees living in Turkey find themselves victims of a change in foreign policy

The human face and the boot by Ma Jian: The acclaimed writer-in-exile reflects on 100 years of the CCP and its legacy of bloodshed

A moral hazard by Sally Gimson: Universities around the world and the CCP’s challenges to academic freedom

Director’s cuts by Chris Yeung: Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK has been squeezed by China’s tightening control

Beijing buys Africa’s silence by Issa Sikiti da Silva: Africa’s rich natural resources are being hoovered up by China

A new world order by Natasha Joseph: Journalist Azad Essa found when he wrote about China in Africa, his writing was silenced

A most unlikely ally by Stefan Pozzebon: Paraguay has long been an ally of Taiwan, but it’s paying an economic price

China’s artful dissident: A profile of our cover artist: the exiled cartoonist Badiucao.

Lies, damned lies and fake news by Nick Anstead: Fake news is rife, rampant and harmful. And we can only counter it by making sure that the truth is heard

Censorship? Hardly by Clive Priddle: Even the most controversial book usually finds a publisher after it has been turned down

A voice for the persecuted by Ruth Smeeth: As Index celebrates its 50 year anniversary, we note why free speech is still important


Don’t joke about Jesus by Shalom Auslander: An exclusive short story based on a joke by the acclaimed author of Mother for Dinner

Poet who haunts Ukraine by Steve Komarnyckyj: Vasyl Stus, the writer who remains a Ukrainian hero, 35 years after perishing in a Soviet gulag

The freedom of exile by Khaled Alesmael, Leah Cross: A young refugee Syrian writer on the love between Arab men

Forbidden love songs by Benjamin Lynch: Iran’s underground pop music scene upsets the regime

Reviews: Saudi Arabia’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi, USA Gymnastics and healthcare in Romania: we review three new documentaries

War of the airwaves by Ian Burrell: The Chinese government faces difficulties with its propaganda network CGTN