Index’s summer magazine launch party takes a look at the Weimar Republic and the lessons for today


“What is said and what is written is unbelievably important,” said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the board of Index on Censorship, at the close of the recent launch party for the Summer 2019 edition of Index Magazine.

The summer 2019 edition, Judged: How Governments Use Power to Undermine Justice and Freedom, looks at attempts to undermine freedom of expression through attacks on the judiciary. The magazine covers issues ranging from new laws in Venezuela intended to limit freedom of the press to instances of self-censorship due to government control of content-sharing platforms in China to new technology created by journalists to check back against threats from politicians regarding the coverage of recent elections in South Africa.

Rachael Jolley, editor of Index magazine, explained that the idea behind the theme came from conversations she had with journalists in Italy covering areas with limited press freedom and hostile environments for journalists. She said, “one of the things that [the journalists] said kept them going was that there were still lawyers who were willing to stand up with them and defend them when they were attacked, when they had libel suits against them, when all the things that happen to them mean that they end up having to stand before a judge.”

This inspired Jolley to curate the latest edition of the magazine around legal issues, to address the legal fight for free speech behind the work of journalists to liberate the media under repressive regimes.

The keynote speaker of the evening was German writer Regula Venske, whose article What Does Weimar Mean to us 100 Years On? was published in the issue. Venske spoke about the history and ultimate downfall of the Weimar Republic, which is now known for fraught democracy and the promotion of freedom of expression, though Venske spoke about how attempts to preserve free speech in the republic were often complicated or insufficient. She walked the audience through some of the influential writing and art produced before the republic’s fall to Nazism.

To conclude, Venske quoted Weimar-era author and poet Erich Kästner: “You cannot fight the avalanche once it has developed into an avalanche, you have to crush the snowball.”

Venske added: “I think that is quite a good saying for the times we are now living in, though unfortunately, he did not leave a recipe for how one could prevent this. I think we need to keep on working for it.”

Phillips, the last speaker of the evening, lamented the state of media freedom in the multiple countries where right-wing leaders have recently come to power. He mentioned specifically the rise of Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, two countries covered in the summer issue. “My time at Index has been marked not by the incredible march of progress but actually a reminder, pretty much every week, why what this organisation does is so important,” he said.

He applied Kästner’s quote to the work Index on Censorship continues to do around the globe. Like Kästner, he explained, Index works to warn the people before the snowballs represented by the arrest of a journalist or the censorship of an artwork become an avalanche of fascism.

“The avalanche starts long before you hear it,” Phillips concluded. “A large part of what we do is give the avalanche warning.”

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Subscribe”][vc_column_text]In print, online, in your mailbox, on your iPad.

Subscription options from £18 or just £1.49 in the App Store for a digital issue.

Every subscriber helps support Index on Censorship’s projects around the world.

SUBSCRIBE NOW[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”107175″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Listen”][vc_column_text]The summer 2019 magazine podcast, featuring interviews with best-selling author Xinran; Italian journalist and contributor to the latest issue, Stefano Pozzebon; and Steve Levitsky, the author of the New York Times best-seller How Democracies Die.

LISTEN HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Contents: Judged: How governments use power to undermine justice and freedom

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”With contributions from Xinran, Ahmet Altan, Stephen Woodman, Karoline Kan, Conor Foley, Robert Harris, Stefano Pozzebon and Melanio Escobar”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Judged: How governments use power to undermine justice and freedom. The summer 2019 edition of Index on Censorship magazine

The summer 2019 Index on Censorship magazine looks at the narrowing gap between a nation’s leader and its judges and lawyers. What happens when the independence of the justice system is gone and lawyers are no longer willing to stand up with journalists and activists to fight for freedom of expression?

In this issue Stephen Woodman reports from Mexico about its new government’s promise to start rebuilding the pillars of democracy; Sally Gimson speaks to best-selling novelist Robert Harris to discuss why democracy and freedom of expression must continue to prevail; Conor Foley investigates the macho politics of President Jair Bolsonaro and how he’s using the judicial system for political ends;  Jan Fox examines the impact of President Trump on US institutions; and Viktória Serdült digs into why the media and justice system in Hungary are facing increasing pressure from the government. In the rest of the magazine a short story from award-winning author Claudia PineiroXinran reflects on China’s controversial social credit rating system; actor Neil Pearson speaks out against theatre censorship; and an interview with the imprisoned best-selling Turkish author Ahmet Altan.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Special Report: Judged: How governments use power to undermine justice and freedom”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Law and the new world order by Rachael Jolley on why the independence of the justice system is in play globally, and why it must be protected

Turkey’s rule of one by Kaya Genc President Erdogan’s government is challenging the result of Istanbul’s mayoral elections. This could test further whether separation of powers exists

England, my England (and the Romans) by Sally Gimson Best-selling novelist Robert Harris on how democracy and freedom of expression are about a lot more than one person, one vote

“It’s not me, it’s the people” by Stephen Woodman Mexico’s new government promised to start rebuilding the pillars of democracy, but old habits die hard. Has anything changed?

When political debate becomes nasty, brutish and short by Jan Fox President Donald Trump has been trampling over democratic norms in the USA. How are US institutions holding up?

The party is the law by Karoline Kan In China, hundreds of human rights lawyers have been detained over the past years, leaving government critics exposed

Balls in the air by Conor Foley The macho politics of Brazil’s new president plus ex-president Dilma Rousseff’s thoughts on constitutional problems

Power and Glory by Silvia Nortes The Catholic church still wields enormous power in Spain despite the population becoming more secular

Stripsearch by Martin Rowson In Freedonia

What next for Viktor Orbán’s Hungary? Viktoria Serdult looks at what happens now that Hungary’s prime minister is pressurising the judiciary, press, parliament and electoral system

When justice goes rogue by Melanio Escobar and Stefano Pozzebon Venezuela is the worst country in the world for abuse of judicial power. With the economy in freefall, journalists struggle to bear witness

“If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs…” by Caroline Muscat It’s lonely and dangerous running an independent news website in Malta, but some lawyers are still willing to stand up to help

Failing to face up to the past by Ryan McChrystal argues that belief in Northern Ireland’s institutions is low, in part because details of its history are still secret

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Global View”][vc_column_text]Small victories do count by Jodie Ginsberg The kind of individual support Index gives people living under oppressive regimes is a vital step towards wider change[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”In Focus”][vc_column_text]Sending out a message in a bottle by Rachael Jolley Actor Neil Pearson, who shot to international fame as the sexist boss in the Bridget Jones’ films, talks about book banning and how the fight against theatre censorship still goes on

Remnants of war by Zehra Dogan Photographs from the 2019 Freedom of Expression Arts Award fellow Zehra Doğan’s installation at Tate Modern in London

Six ways to remember Weimar by Regula Venske The name of this small town has mythic resonances for Germans. It was the home of many of the country’s greatest classical writers and gave its name to the Weimar Republic, which was founded 100 years ago

“Media attacks are highest since 1989” by Natasha Joseph Politicians in South Africa were issuing threats to journalists in the run-up to the recent elections. Now editors have built a tracking tool to fight back

Big Brother’s regional ripple effect by Kirsten Han Singapore’s recent “fake news” law which gives ministers the right to ban content they do not like, may encourage other regimes in south-east Asia to follow suit

Who guards the writers? Irene Caselli reports on journalists who write about the Mafia and extremist movements in Italy need round-the-clock protection. They are worried Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini will take their protection away

China in their hands by Xinran The social credit system in China risks creating an all-controlling society where young people will, like generations before them, live in fear

Playing out injustice by Lewis Jennings Ugandan songwriter and politician Bobi Wine talks about how his lyrics have inspired young people to stand up against injustice and how the government has tried to silence him[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Culture”][vc_column_text]“Watch out we’re going to disappear you” by Claudia Pineiro The horrors of DIY abortion in a country where it is still not legal are laid bare in this story from Argentina, translated into English for the first time

“Knowing that they are there, helps me keep smiling in my cell” by Ahmet Altan The best-selling Turkish author and journalist gives us a poignant interview from prison and we publish an extract from his 2005 novel The Longest Night

A rebel writer by Eman Abdelrahim An exclusive extract from a short story by a new Egyptian writer. The story deals with difficult themes of mental illness set against the violence taking place during the uprising in Cairo’s Tahrir Square[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Column”][vc_column_text]Index around the world – Speak out, shut out by Lewis Jennings Index welcomed four new fellows to our 2019 programme. We were also out and about advocating for free expression around the world[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Endnote”][vc_column_text]

End note – Hanging truth out to dry by Sally Gimson Documentary maker Maxim Pozdorovkin explains why propaganda these days is all about disorientation and creating a situation where it is hard to figure out what is true

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Subscribe”][vc_column_text]In print, online, in your mailbox, on your iPad.

Subscription options from £18 or just £1.49 in the App Store for a digital issue.

Every subscriber helps support Index on Censorship’s projects around the world.

SUBSCRIBE NOW[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Listen”][vc_column_text]Music has long been a form of popular rebellion, especially in the 21st century. These songs, provide a theme tune to the new magazine and give insight into everything from the nationalism in Viktor Orban’s Hungary to the role of government-controlled social media in China to poverty in Venezuela

LISTEN HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Listen”][vc_column_text]The summer 2019 magazine podcast, featuring interviews with best-selling author Xinran; Italian journalist and contributor to the latest issue, Stefano Pozzebon; and Steve Levitsky, the author of the New York Times best-seller How Democracies Die.

LISTEN HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Contents: Is this all the local news?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”With contributions from Richard Littlejohn, Libby Purves, Michal Hvorecký, Karoline Kan, Andrew Morton, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Rituparna Chatterjee and Julie Posetti”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Is this all the local news? The spring 2019 issue of Index on Censorship magazine.

Is this all the local news? The spring 2019 issue of Index on Censorship magazine.

The spring 2019 edition of Index on Censorship looks at local news in the UK and around the world and what happens when local journalism no longer holds power to account.

Our exclusive survey of  editors and journalists in the UK shows that 97% are worried that local newspapers don’t have the resources any more to hold power to account. Meanwhile the older population tell us they are worried that the public is less well informed than it used to be. Local news reporting is in trouble all over the world.  In the USA Jan Fox looks at the news deserts phenomenon and what it means for a local area to lose its newspaper. Karoline Kan writes from China about how local newspapers, which used to have the  freedom to cover crises and hold the government to account, are closing as they come increasingly under Communist Party scrutiny. Veteran English radio journalist Libby Purves tells editor Rachael Jolley that local newspapers in the UK used to give a voice to working-class people and that their demise may have contributed to Brexit. In India Rituparna Chatterjee finds a huge appetite for local news, but discovers, with some notable exceptions, that there is not enough investment to satisfy demand. “Fake news” is on the rise, and journalists are vulnerable to bribery. Meanwhile Mark Frary examines how artificial intelligence is being used to write news stories and asks whether this is helping or hindering journalism. Finally an extract from the dystopian Slovak novel Troll, Michal Hvorecký published in English for the first time imagines an outpouring of state-sponsored hate  

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Special Report: Is this all the local news?”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The future is robotic by Mark Frary Would journalists have more time to investigate news stories if robots did the easy bits?

Terrorising the truth by Stephen Woodman Journalists on the US border are too intimidated by drug cartels to report what is happening

Switched off by Irene Caselli After years as a political football, Argentinian papers are closing as people turn to the internet for news

Eight innovative ways of reporting local news by Sally Gimson  How different organisations are responding to the global decline of community newspapers

News loses by Jan Fox Thousands of US communities have lost their daily papers. What is the cost to their area?

Turks retreat online for news by Kaya Genç Turkish journalists are using social media to get their stories out

Stripsearch by Martin Rowson On the death of local news

What happens when our local news disappears by Tracey Bagshaw How UK local newspapers are closing and coverage of court proceedings is not happening

Slip sliding away by Andrew Morton, Julie Posetti and Richard Littlejohn Well-known journalists reflect on their early careers in local journalism and warn about its decline today

Who will do the difficult stories now? by Rachael Jolley British local newspaper editors fear a future where powerful figures are not held to account, plus a poll of public opinion on journalism

“People feel too small to be heard” by Rachael Jolley Columnist Libby Purves tells Index fewer working-class voices are being heard and wonders whether this contributed to Brexit

Fighting for funding by Peter Sands UK newspaper editors talk about the pressures on local newspapers in Britain today

Staying alive by Laura Silvia Battaglia Reporter Sandro Ruotolo reveals how local news reporters in southern Italy are threatened by the Mafia

Public interest news is suffering by John Whittingdale A British MP says it is dangerous when local newspapers no longer hold public bodies to account

Dearth of news by Karoline Kan Some local newspapers in China no longer dig into corruption or give a voice to local people as Communist Party scrutiny increases

India shifts local by Rituparna Chatterjee People are hungry for local news, but badly paid journalists are tempted by bribes

Remote controller by Dan Nolan What happens when all major media, state and private, is controlled by Hungary’s government and all the front pages start looking the same

Rocky times by Monica O’Shea Local Australian newspapers are merging, closing and losing circulation which leaves scandals unreported

Making local neighbourhoods great again by Silvia Nortes In Spain hyperlocal newspapers are all the rage because they involve readers

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Global View”][vc_column_text]

Banning controversial speech won’t solve the issues by Jodie Ginsberg A kneejerk reaction to social media by government is in danger of creating bad laws that restrict free expression

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”In Focus”][vc_column_text]

Turning off the searchlights by Alessio Perrone The Italian government attempts to restrict coverage of the plight of refugees crossing the Mediterranean

Standing up for freedom Adam Reichardt  A look at Gdańsk’s history of protest and liberalism, as the city fights back after the murder of mayor Paweł Adamowicz

After the purge by Samuel Abrahám and Miriam Sherwood This feature asks two writers about lessons for today from their Slovak families’ experiences 50 years ago

Fakebusters strike back by Raymond Joseph How to spot deep fakes, the manipulated videos that are the newest form of “fake news” to hit the internet

Cover up by Charlotte Bailey Kuwaiti writer Layla AlAmmar discusses why 4,000 books were banned in her home country and the possible fate of her first #MeToo novel

Silence speaks volumes by Neema Komba Tanzanian artists and musicians are facing government censorship in a country where 64 new restrictions have just been introduced

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Culture”][vc_column_text]

The year of the troll by Michal Hvorecký This extract from the novel Troll describes a world where the government controls the people by spewing out hate 24 hours a day

Ghost writers by Jeffrey Wasserstrom The author and China expert imagines a fictional futuristic lecture he’s going to give in 2049, the centenary of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

Protesting through poetry by Radu Vancu Verses by one of Romania’s most renowned poets draw on his experience of anti-corruption protests in Sibiu

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Column”][vc_column_text]

Index around the world – Shooting the messengers by Lewis Jennings An overview of Index’s latest published work including three reports on media freedom

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Endnote”][vc_column_text]

Press freedom: EU blind spot? By Sally Gimson Many European countries are violating freedom of the press; why is the EU not taking it more seriously?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Subscribe”][vc_column_text]In print, online, in your mailbox, on your iPad.

Subscription options from £18 or just £1.49 in the App Store for a digital issue.

Every subscriber helps support Index on Censorship’s projects around the world.

SUBSCRIBE NOW[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”105481″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Listen”][vc_column_text]The spring 2019 magazine podcast, featuring interviews with editor of chinadialogue, Karoline Kan; director of the Society of Editors in the UK Ian Murray and co-founder of the Bishop’s Stortford Independent, Sinead Corr. Index youth board members Arpitha Desai and Melissa Zisingwe also talk about local journalism in India and Zimbabwe

LISTEN HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]