How Covid-19 has provided cover for the silencing of journalists (The Times)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The global Covid-19 pandemic has been the root cause of some of the most concerning and frightening attacks on journalists worldwide.

For The Times’ Red Box, Index’s Head of Content Jemimah Steinfeld laid out why the attacks were so concerning:

“Even we have been shocked by the scale of the attacks,” she said. “Journalists have been detained in Serbia; they’ve been called ‘wimps’ by Brazil’s leader Jair Bolsonaro; they’ve been expelled from China; banned from asking questions at lobby briefings in the UK; assaulted by police in South Africa; cowed by legislative change in Hungary.”

“The attacks have been relentless.”


Hate crime bill: Law would criminalise teatime chats, claim campaigners (Times)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Index CEO Ruth Smeeth warned of new legislation in Scotland that would “govern what we say to each other over a cuppa”.

The new “hate crime bill” proposed in Scotland has been heavily criticised since its inception.

In The Times, Smeeth said: “Common sense seems to have gone out of the window with regards to the Scottish hate crime bill. Let’s be clear, hate speech is appalling and if it’s inciting violence and illegal behaviour it should be banned. But this is now trying to regulate what people say to each other over dinner — it’s absurd. We need a legal framework to protect the general public from the impact of hate crimes, not a piece of legislation to try and govern what we say over a cuppa.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Time ripe for new defence of freedom of speech and debate (The Times)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Newly appointed CEO of Index on Censorship Ruth Smeeth writes in The Times about the origins of Index on Censorship, and the ongoing work of defending freedom of expression.

“Forty-nine years ago a call to action was made in the pages of The Times. The great and the good of our literary world were horrified at reports about what was happening to their colleagues behind the Iron Curtain and they wanted to help.”

Read the full article here[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Letter: Why was Homegrown cancelled?

The following letter was published in The Times.

Sir, The abrupt cancellation of the National Youth Theatre’s production of Homegrown is a troubling moment for British theatre and freedom of expression. The play seeks to examine radicalisation and disaffection among British youth. Its cancellation serves only to shut down conversation on these important issues. We fear that government policy in response to extremism may be creating a culture of caution in the arts.

We are deeply concerned by reports that the NYT may have been put under external pressure to change the location and then cancel the production. Police, local authorities and arts organisations have a duty to respect and protect freedom of expression — even, and most especially, where they disagree with the message or find it controversial.We urge the NYT to give a full account of what led to the decision, and hope that a way can be found to stage it so that the young voices involved can be heard and the production can be judged on its merits.

Maureen Freely, president, English PEN
David Aaronovitch, chair, Index on Censorship
Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive, Index on Censorship
Jo Glanville, director, English PEN
Shami Chakrabarti, director, Liberty
Anish Kapoor, artist
Anneliese Davidsen, executive director, Unicorn Theatre
Christopher Haydon, artistic director, Gate Theatre
Sir David Hare, playwright
David Lan, artistic director, Young Vic
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, playwright
Heydon Prowse, actor
Jolyon Rubinstein, actor
Howard Brenton, playwright
Josie Rourke, artistic director, Donmar Warehouse
Lorne Campbell, artistic director, Northern Stage
Monica Ali, writer
Timberlake Wertenbake, playwright
Nell Leyshon, playwright
Nick Williams, executive director, Actors Touring Company
Ramin Gray, artistic director, Actors Touring Company
Sabrina Mahfouz, playwright
Sarah Frankcom, artistic director, Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester
Simon Callow, actor
Stella Odunlami, artist and performer

The Times: Why was Homegrown cancelled?
Index calls for transparency on Homegrown cancellation (13 August 2015)
Creative team behind Homegrown “deeply shocked” by cancellation (13 August 2015)
Cancellation of Homegrown is very worrying (5 August 2015)


Child Protection: PDF | web

Counter Terrorism: PDF | web

Public Order: PDF | web

Obscene Publications (available autumn 2015)
Race and Religion (available autumn 2015)

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