Birth, marriage and death: Index magazine on Resonance FM

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Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship magazine, Sally Gimson, deputy editor, and Tracey Bagshaw, journalist and magazine contributor — with special help from editorial assistant Lewis Jennings — were live on air at Resonance FM on 21 January to discuss the latest issue which takes a special look at why different societies stop people discussing the most significant events in life.

In China, as Karoline Kan reports, women were forced for many years to have just one child and now they are being pushed to have two, but it is not something to talk about. In South Korea Steven Borowiec finds men have taken to social media to condemn a new film adaptation of a novel about motherhood. Irene Caselli describes the consequences in Latin America of preventing discussion about contraception and sexually transmitted infections. Joan McFadden digs into attitudes to gay marriage in the Hebrides, where she grew up, and interviews the Presbyterian minister who demonstrated against Lewis Pride.  We have an original play from Syrian dramatist Liwaa Yazji about fear and violent deathWhile flash fiction writer Neema Komba imagines a Tanzanian bride challenging the marriage committee over her wedding cake. Finally, Nobel-prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich tells us that she is sanguine about the mortal dangers of chronicling and criticising post-Soviet Russia.

Print copies of the magazine are available on Amazon, or you can take out a digital subscription via Exact Editions. Copies are also available at the BFI, the Serpetine Gallery and MagCulture (all London), News from Nowhere (Liverpool). Red Lion Books (Colchester) and Home (Manchester). Each magazine sale helps Index on Censorship continue its fight for free expression worldwide.

The Winter 2018 podcast can also be found on iTunes.[/vc_column_text][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1548431570319-1f2dca2e-e6db-5″ taxonomies=”30752″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Birth, marriage and death: Confronting taboos at Index winter magazine launch

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”104667″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_column_text]“I found it empowering to be told I couldn’t talk about something,” said Gabby Edlin, founder of Bloody Good Period, on the stigmatisation of periods at the launch of the winter 2018 edition of Index on Censorship magazine.

The issue, on the theme of birth, marriage and death, investigates what we are afraid to talk about and why. Whether it’s contraception misconceptions in Latin America, prejudice against interracial marriages in South Africa, or genocides around the world, a plethora of countries and topics were featured in this special report.

Taking place at Foyles’ flagship store in Charing Cross, London, which was once the world’s largest bookshop, Edlin was joined by award-winning author Emilie Pine, author of Notes to Self, and Xinran, the internationally best-selling author of The Good Women of China who also introduced the first women’s call-in radio show in China. The panel was chaired by Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship magazine.

Edlin raised the taboo of period poverty, highlighting an unsettling scene in the Bafta-winning film I, Daniel Blake, in which a woman is caught stealing sanitary products and propositioned sex by a security guard in return for her freedom.

She said: “That was the moment that a lot of people woke up to the idea that, of course, women can’t afford this if they can’t afford everything else. But, everyone has experienced not having the product when you need it. It’s absolutely universal, it’s not just women living in poverty, it’s not just asylum seekers. Every single woman who has menstruated knows what it’s like to go without.”[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”104670″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”104668″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”104669″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Xinran explained the pain of the controversial one-child policy in China: “Countryside women came to the city and realised girls have equal rights but in the countryside, the mother had to kill their daughters or give them away. Still now no-one talks about it.”

However, family policy is changing. “The Chinese published a new stamp because this year is a pig year – with a parent with three babies – that is a signal to a parent that it’s not one child, not two children, it is free now.”

“We think that we are now such an open, liberal society and you can say anything you want on Twitter, but actually we’re still very, very closed and we talk about things without really talking about them,” said Pine, whose Notes to Self breaks down the taboo of miscarriages and sexual violence.

“This woman, who I had never met before, came up to me and said, ‘I had a miscarriage two months ago and nobody knows’, and then just walked away. She walked away I think from having said it as well and from the need to say it. We need to tell our stories.”

For more information on the winter issue, click here. Find out why we find it impossible to talk about birth, death and marriage, according to Rachael Jolley. The winter podcast is also available on iTunes and SoundCloud.[/vc_column_text][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1547210035015-71572e6c-f63e-3″ taxonomies=”8957″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Are storytelling and appealing to emotions valid ways of arguing, debate panellists at Index autumn magazine launch

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”103062″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_column_text]“Critical thinking is important, but we should also be teaching scientific literacy and political literacy so we know what knowledge claims to trust,” said Keith Kahn-Harris, author of Denial: The Unspeakable Truth, at a panel debate during the launch of the autumn 2018 edition of Index on Censorship.

The theme of this quarter’s magazine, The Age of Unreason, looks at censorship in scientific research and whether our emotions are blurring the lines between fact and fiction. From Mexico to Turkey, Hungary to China, a whole range of countries from around the globe were covered for this special report, featuring articles from the likes of Julian Baggini and David Ulin. For the launch, a selection of journalists, authors and academics shared their thoughts on how to have better arguments when emotions are high, while exploring concerns surrounding science and censorship in the current global climate.

Aptly taking place at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the historical home of scientific research for 14 Nobel Prize winners, Kahn-Harris was joined by BBC Radio 4 presenter Timandra Harkness and New Scientist writer Graham Lawton. The discussion was chaired by Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship magazine.

“Academics and experts are being undermined all over the world,” said Jolley, setting the stage for a riveting conversation between panellists and the audience. “Is this something new or something that has happened throughout history?”

When Jolley asked why science is often the first target of an authoritarian government, Lawton proposed that the value of science is that it is evidence-based and subsequently “kryptonite” to what rigid establishments want to portray. He added: “They depend extremely heavily on telling people half-truths or lies.”[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”103066″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes”][vc_column_text]Harkness led a workshop highlighting the importance of applying critical thinking skills when deconstructing arguments, using footage of real-life debates, past and present, to investigate such ideas. Whether it was the first televised contest between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, or a dispute between Indian civilians over LGBT rights earlier this year, a wide variety of topics and discussions were analysed.

Examining a debate between 2016 presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, Harkness asked an audience member his thoughts. Focusing on Trump’s approach, he said: “He’s put up a totally false premise which is quite a conventional tactic; you put up something that is not what the other person said, and then you proceed to knock it down quite reasonably because it’s unreasonable in the first place.” Harkness agreed. “It’s the straw man tactic”, she said, “where you build something up and then attack it.”

Panellists began discussing how to argue with say those who deny climate change, with Kahn-Harris contending that science has become enormously specialised over the past centuries, which means people cannot always debunk uncertain claims since they are not specialists. He said: “There’s something tremendously smug about the post-enlightenment world.”

Harkness said “robust challenges” should be sought-after rather than silencing those who share different views, while Lawton added that “storytelling and appealing to emotions are perfectly valid ways of arguing.”

For more information on the autumn issue, click here. The issue includes an article on how fact and fiction come together in the age of unreason, why Indian journalism is under threat, Nobel prize-winning novelist Herta Müller on censorship in Romania, and an exclusive short story from bestselling crime writer Ian Rankin. Listen to our podcast here. Or, try our quiz that decides how prone to bullshit you are…[/vc_column_text][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1538584887174-432e9410-24f0-4″ taxonomies=”8957″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Index magazine launch: “We have reached peak indifference to surveillance”

Words: Mariam Ameri
Videos: Kieran Etoria-King

The current issue of Index on Censorship magazine looks at the issue of anonymity and the pros and cons of masking identities. At the magazine’s launch at the offices of VPN provider Hide My Ass, Index readers and contributors gathered to listen to writer Cory Doctorow and tech journalist Geoff White lay out the importance of online privacy and protecting personal data.

Experienced hackers can attain such data in seconds as White, technology producer at Channel 4 News, demonstrated.

No one in the audience will “look at [their] phone in the same way again,” he added.

Doctorow debriefed the audience on the stifling practices which we adhere to every day.


The latest issue of Index magazine is available for free on Sage until 23 November. In it, former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson writes on the damage done when her cover was blown; journalist John Lloyd looks at how terrorist attacks have affected surveillance needs worldwide; Caroline Lees looks at how local journalists and fixers can be endangered, or even killed, when they are revealed to be working with foreign news companies; and more.

You can order your copy of the latest issue here, or take out a digital subscription via Exact Editions. Copies are also available at the BFI, the Serpentine Gallery, MagCulture, (London), News from Nowhere (Liverpool), Home (Manchester), Calton Books (Glasgow) and on Amazon. Each magazine sale helps Index on Censorship continue its fight for free expression worldwide.