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


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 – The Disappeared: How people, books and ideas are taken away

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Special report”][vc_column_text]Government hits activists’ online profiles by Arzu Geybulla: Journalists and activists are finding their social media profiles hacked and sometimes deleted in a clear harassment campaign in Azerbaijan

Presiding over bloodshed by Issa Sikiti da Silva: The voice of the opposition is increasingly missing in action as Uganda approaches election day

“Silence got us nowhere. We need to speak up” by Rushan Abbas: One woman’s anguish and outrage over her sister’s disappearance and the millions of others into the concentration camp network in Xinjiang, China

“The idea is to kill journalism” by Bilal Ahmad Pandow: Kashmiri journalists on what it’s like working under lockdown, an internet blackout and a new draconian media law

What has the government got to hide? by Jessica Ní Mhainín: The new Irish government has to decide whether to block access to historic child abuse records

Don’t show and tell by Orna Herr: In a bid to avoid offence, TV shows are disappearing from the airwaves. Are we poorer for it?

Restaurants scrub off protest walls by Oliver Farry: All signs of the city’s recent protest past are being removed in Hong Kong’s restaurants, shops and even libraries following the new security law

Closure means no closure by Stefano Pozzebon and Morena Pérez Joachin: The library housing documents on the disappeared of Guatemala’s brutal civil war has been closed and with it the disappeared have disappeared further

The unknown quantity by Alessio Perrone: The Italian government is making efforts to cover up who and how many are trying to cross the Mediterranean

Tracing Turkey’s disappeared by Kaya Genç: A centre looks into the forced disappearances of Kurds in Turkey. Will they find answers or obstacles?

“There’s nobody left to speak” by Somak Ghoshal: First they came for the journalists. Then they came for the lawyers and activists. Who can speak out in today’s India?

Out of sight, but never out of mind by Laura Silvia Battaglia: Our interview with the director of a new documentary about the disappeared in Syria

Blogger flees Tunisia after arrest by Layli Foroudi: After telling a joke, one Tunisian blogger had to flee her country to avoid prison

Becoming tongue-tied by Sally Gimson: China is one country that is forcing people to give up their minority languages. Others have also attempted it

Spain’s lonely voices by Silvia Nortes: We trace the demise of many minority Spanish languages and look at whether others will survive[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Global view”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Why Index has never been needed more by Ruth Smeeth: The world is witnessing an acceleration of illiberalism. We all need to be vigilant[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”In focus”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ecce homo sovieticus by Andrey Arkhangelsky: Decades after the end of the Soviet Union, Russians are still plagued by totalitarianism. It’s getting worse

“I have suffered death threats and they killed my pet dogs” by Stephen Woodman: Mexican journalists work in war-like conditions. Many are suffering terrible mental illnesses because of it

Nonsense and sensibility by Jemimah Steinfeld: An interview with the bestselling author Dave Eggers about society’s slide into a total surveillance state

Fighting the laws that are silencing journalists by Jessica Ní Mhainín: Vexatious legal threats are part of the European media landscape. We need to take action against them, says a new Index report

2020 by Ben Jennings: Is Alexa censoring the news or is it just that bad? A new cartoon from the award-winning illustrator

Will the centre hold by Michella Oré? They voted for Trump in 2016 because their voices were not being heard. How does middle America feel today?

Who Speaks for Iowa by Jan Fox? The owner of a small-town radio station talks about feeling ignored in the rural USA[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Culture”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Past imperfect by Lisa Appignanesi: The award-winning writer speaks to Rachael Jolley about the inspiration for her new short story, written exclusively for Index, which looks at the idea of ageing, and disappearing memories, and how it plays out during lockdown

The history man by Xue Yiwei: One of China’s most widely read writers discusses a childhood memory of being punished for singing, alongside his short story, published in English for the first time here

Four more years by Mark Frary? Analysis of the upcoming US election looking at the media, plus a new satirical short story by Kaya Genç in which a dog considers Trump’s re-election hopes

Speech patterns by Abraham Zere: The Eritrean writer on escaping one of the world’s most censored countries and now living in Trump’s USA. Plus a new short story of his[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Index around the world”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]New tactics to close down speech by Orna Herr: The news editor at Rappler speaks to Index about legal threats against the media outlet’s CEO, Maria Ressa, plus a report on Index’s recent work[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”End Note “][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Spraying discontent by Jemimah Steinfeld: With museums closed some of the most powerful art is on the streets. Index speaks to the world’s street artists on why it is suddenly a popular form of protest[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Podcast: Private lives with Katherine Parkinson, Harry Peacock, Arturo di Corinto and Emma Briant


The summer 2020 edition of the Index on Censorship podcast looks at just how much of our privacy might we give away – accidentally, on purpose or through force – in the battle against Covid-19.

The podcast also features the world premiere of a lockdown playlet written exclusively for Index on
Censorship by Katherine Parkinson. Parkinson, best known for her role as Jen Barber in The IT Crowd, also stars as Sarah in the play, alongside actors Harry Peacock and Selina Cadell.

Arturo di Corinto speaks on the podcast about technological terms that have been used more and more in the crisis while Emma Briant discusses around techniques world leaders are using in the run-up to elections to stifle opposition.

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