Index on Censorship seeks new Communications and Events Manager

Index on Censorship is looking for a passionate and dynamic individual to join our team as a Communications and Events Manager. The role will sit at the heart of the organisation and will be instrumental in running external communications across our social media channels, liaising with media to secure coverage and organising our events.

Requirements:

The ideal candidate will be confident in their ability to foster partnerships and will have strong writing skills, with a keen eye for detail. They’ll buzz with enthusiasm and will be passionate about world news and the global rights landscape.

Ideally they’ll have done a marketing, communications, journalism or events role in a mission-driven organisation or in publishing/the media. They will have strong planning and organisational skills, the ability to work effectively with people at different levels of seniority and from different backgrounds and will have a passion for free expression. A non-tribal outlook is essential: Index is non-partisan and its only “cause” is that of promoting free expression.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Social media management: Coordinate and execute our social media strategy to position Index as the go-to for information and analysis on the global free speech landscape
  • Event organisation: Curate and coordinate events, including venue and speaker bookings. Lead on our annual Freedom of Expression awards as part of this
  • PR and communication: Develop and implement strategies to promote Index to existing and new audiences and manage media relationships
  • Content development: Produce and promote content in line with the organisation’s main work streams and priorities

Qualifications / Experience:

  • A track record of managing social media in a professional setting
  • Experience of liaising with media to secure coverage
  • Demonstrated experience in event planning
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative in identifying and pursuing opportunities
  • Experience of writing across multi-platforms
  • Knowledge of website backends, SEO and other digital tools is not essential but preferred
  • Knowledge of a second language and/or expertise on another area of the world is a bonus
 

This is a full time role. The starting salary is £35,000-38,000 dependent on experience. The role is remote but regular travel to London will be expected.

Please send a cover letter and CV to [email protected] by Monday 8 July. Interviews will take place in early to mid July.

 
About Index: 
 

Index on Censorship is Britain’s leading organisation that reports on and campaigns for free expression worldwide. We publish work by censored writers and artists, promote debate and monitor threats to free speech. At the organisation’s heart and in circulation since 1972 is an award-winning quarterly magazine that has featured some of the world’s best-known writers. In addition to the magazine is a website, a weekly newsletter and a campaigning and events programme. Together they make Index what it is today – the go-to for information on the global free speech landscape.

Index is a small and ambitious organisation that values diversity. We are committed to equal opportunities and welcome all applicants regardless of ethnic origin, national origin, gender, gender identity, race, colour, religious beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, age or marital status.

Index on Censorship seeks new editor

Index is hiring a new editor to work at the heart of its editorial team. Reporting directly to the CEO and heading the editorial department, they will be expected to oversee agenda-setting investigations, articles, columns and fiction. This is an excellent opportunity to help curate an outstanding quarterly magazine both in print and online. As such, the right candidate will have ample experience and exceptional journalistic judgement. They will be confident working with some of the biggest names in journalism and the arts, as well as committed to finding and commissioning underrepresented voices and stories. A non-tribal outlook is essential: Index is non-partisan and its only “cause” is that of promoting free expression.

The right candidate will combine impressive range and curiosity with excellent attention to detail. They will oversee the editorial process from conception through to publication. They will manage a team of internal editors and writers and a larger network of freelance contributors around the world, alongside sub-editors, illustrators and designers.

The new editor must be equally at home working on print and digital journalism. While the main job is working on the magazine, overseeing the website and other editorial output is part of it. The role therefore demands someone who is just as comfortable writing a more informal newsletter or crafting a grabbing web headline as they are editing a 2,000-word article. Writing opportunities are also available.

The editor will have at least five years of relevant, senior-level editorial experience. A sophisticated understanding of world news and/or the free speech landscape is essential; expertise in a foreign language and/or a global area is a bonus.

This is a full time role. The starting salary is £45,000-48,000 dependent on experience. The role is remote but regular travel to London will be expected.

Please send a cover letter and CV to [email protected] by Monday 24 June. Interviews will take place in early July.

About Index:

Index on Censorship is Britain’s leading organisation that reports on and campaigns for free expression worldwide. We publish work by censored writers and artists, promote debate and monitor threats to free speech. At the organisation’s heart and in circulation since 1972 is an award-winning quarterly magazine that has featured some of the world’s best-known writers. In addition to the magazine is a website, a weekly newsletter and a campaigning and events programme. Together they make Index what it is today – the go-to for information on the global free speech landscape.

Index is a small and ambitious organisation that values diversity. We are committed to equal opportunities and welcome all applicants regardless of ethnic origin, national origin, gender, gender identity, race, colour, religious beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, age or marital status.

Are we sleepwalking into Orwell’s nightmare?

“We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas, and we should all be treated the same way.”

These words form the first article of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Adopted on 10 December 1948, the document was created to outline and protect every human’s basic right after the bloodshed of the Second World War.

At the same time, George Orwell was completing his classic dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four; published the following year. While fictional, it painted a radically different vision: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

Following a screening of the final programme of BBC Arena’s series about the life of Orwell, aired in 1984, a panel at WoWFEST: FAHRENHEIT 2024 festival in Liverpool discussed the question: Just how close are we to Orwell’s vision – or are we already there?

Daniel Gorman is director of English PEN, one of the first international bodies that advocated for human rights, of which Orwell was a member. He believes the novel is still key when looking at the challenges facing freedom of expression today: “The book is always relevant but feels particularly feels so with the current creep of authoritarianism. It is a warning.

“It says something about human nature more broadly, about state and power, and as more power is centralised in fewer hands, we could go along with it until we realise it’s too late.”

Against the backdrop of a collapsed Nazi Germany regime and a Soviet Iron Curtain falling across Europe, it was clear who the ideological proponents were around the time of Orwell’s writing. Freedom of expression and human rights campaigner and researcher Sara Whyatt stated now, however, the lines are more blurred.

“We still have the usual suspects like Russia, and Belarus is there, plus situations like now in Georgia with the proposed introduction of the ‘foreign agent’ law in the country.

“It becomes very difficult now though now as it’s an amorphous group of people at play. This is where social media also plays a problematic role”, she added.

Historically seen solely through the lens of states and countries, the destabilising effect of social media on the fight against censorship was a key discussion point in the debate.

“I used to know who to send letters to, and which buildings to protest outside of. Now, I don’t know who the enemy is anymore, and I feel the enemy is all around me through social media. Does that feel real?”, Whyatt continued.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is also about the manipulation of communications, seen now through the difficulty to parse through a barrage of information on social media, with bot farms trying to widely sow confusion with misinformation and disinformation, argued Gorman.

He admitted that social media does sometimes have its positives and gets information out when official sources are limited: “The vast majority of information we’re getting from Gaza is from local journalists through social media, as international journalists haven’t been allowed in, and remember its role in the 2011 Arab Spring also. The problem is always there for information to be abused.”

Dolan Cummings is director of the Manifesto Club, an organisation that challenges what it calls the “hyper-regulation” of public spaces. Like the online space, he believes there’s a problem with freedom of speech and expression in the physical world, citing encroaching laws in the UK.

“I think the view in the UK now is that freedom of association and speech are problems to be managed rather than potential solutions to problems. Not just around political protest but also even bans on things like busking and leafleting are criminalised by public spaces protection orders”, he said.

Naturally a debate concerning a novel also covered the role of censorship against creative expression. Gorman relayed what an exiled author told him when asked why he thought he was targeted in his homeland.

“He said words have power and novels last, and when they work right, they can really upset the workings of power and connect the struggles of human rights. I think we see that with Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

Despite the inspiring words, the panel laid bare both the increasing financial and artistic challenges facing creatives’ freedom of expression in 2024. Whyatt, who is an expert on freedom of artistic expression, explained artistic censorship often involves less obvious, underlying issues.

“Worldwide, governments are strategically placing people they want in broadcasting and cultural institutions, who then choose directly where funding goes.

“There is also self-censorship in the arts too. Venues might like an artist’s work but may reject it due to fear of controversy and a stripping of future funding or grants. In that instance, is it pragmatism or censorship?”

Writer and performance poet Francesca Beard read a poem specially inspired by the Arena documentary and told Index about her fear of AI and tools such as ChatGPT. Although she thinks they have some benefits for her profession, people have to be careful with their use in the future.

She said: “I put my questions into it and see what comes out. It’s good for rhyme and rhythm but it’s very superficial and makes me think ‘well I’m not going to write like that’, so it helps in that way.

“We need human, creative thought though. It’s all our individual responsibility to make sure we’re not too satisfied by it, because if we are then in the future, I’m worried that’s all we’ll be served up for our art.”

There is hope for the future and a chance for humanity to avoid sleepwalking into an Orwellian nightmare, Gorman said, but added financial support is desperately needed.

“We have so many people standing up who value freedom of speech and expression, all really supporting each other, but there needs to be strong investment into things such as civil society, investigative journalism and NGOs, so we can all hold the powerful to account.”

WoWFEST: FAHRENHEIT 2024 continues around Liverpool and online until 30 May 2024

Contents – The long reach: How authoritarian countries are silencing critics abroad

Contents

The Spring 2024 issue of Index looks at how authoritarian states are bypassing borders in order to clamp down on dissidents who have fled their home state. In this issue we investigate the forms that transnational repression can take, as well as highlighting examples of those who have been harassed, threatened or silenced by the long arm of the state.

The writers in this issue offer a range of perspectives from countries all over the world, with stories from Turkey to Eritrea to India providing a global view of how states operate when it comes to suppressing dissidents abroad. These experiences serve as a warning that borders no longer come with a guarantee of safety for those targeted by oppressive regimes.

 

Up Front

Border control, by Jemimah Steinfeld: There's no safe place for the world's dissidents. World leaders need to act.

The Index, by Mark Frary: A glimpse at the world of free expression, featuring Indian elections, Predator spyware and a Bahraini hunger strike.

Features

Just passing through, by Eduardo Halfon: A guided tour through Guatemala's crime traps.

Exporting the American playbook, by Amy Fallon: The culture wars are finding new ground in Canada, where the freedom to read is the latest battle.

The couple and the king, by Clemence Manyukwe: Tanele Maseko saw her activist husband killed in front of her eyes, but it has not stopped her fight for democracy.

Obrador's parting gift, by Chris Havler-Barrett: Journalists are free to report in Mexico, as long as it's what the president wants to hear.

Silencing the faithful, by Simone Dias Marques: Brazil's religious minorities are under attack.

The anti-abortion roadshow, by Rebecca L Root: The USA's most controversial new export could be a campaign against reproductive rights.

The woman taking on the trolls, by Daisy Ruddock: Tackling disinformation has left Marianna Spring a victim of trolling, even by Elon Musk.

Broken news, by Mehran Firdous: The founder of The Kashmir Walla reels from his time in prison and the banning of his news outlet.

Who can we trust?, by Kimberley Brown: Organised crime and corruption have turned once peaceful Ecuador into a reporter's nightmare.

The cost of being green, by Thien Viet: Vietnam's environmental activists are mysteriously all being locked up on tax charges.

Who is the real enemy?, by Raphael Rashid: Where North Korea is concerned, poetry can go too far - according to South Korea.

The law, when it suits him, by JP O'Malley: Donald Trump could be making prison cells great again.

Special Report: The long reach - how authoritarian countries are silencing critics abroad

Nowhere is safe, by Alexander Dukalskis: Introducing the new and improved ways that autocracies silence their overseas critics.

Welcome to the dictator's playground, by Kaya Genç: When it comes to safeguarding immigrant dissidents, Turkey has a bad reputation.

The overseas repressors who are evading the spotlight, by Emily Couch: It's not all Russia, China and Saudi Arabia. Central Asian governments are reaching across borders too.

Everything everywhere all at once, by Daisy Ruddock: It's both quantity and quality when it comes to how states attack dissent abroad.

A fatal game of international hide and seek, by Danson Kahyana: After leaving Eritrea, one writer lives in constants fear of being kidnapped or killed.

Our principles are not for sale, by Jirapreeya Saeboo: The Thai student publisher who told China to keep their cash bribe.

Refused a passport, by Sally Gimson: A lesson from Belarus in how to obstruct your critics.

Be nice, or you're not coming in, by Salil Tripathi: Is the murder of a Sikh activist in Canada the latest in India's cross-border control.

An agency for those denied agency, by Amy Fallon: The Sikh Press Association's members are no strangers to receiving death threats.

Always looking behind, by Zhou Fengsuo and Nathan Law: If you're a Tiananmen protest leader or the face of Hong Kong's democracy movement, China is always watching.

Putting Interpol on notice, by Tommy Greene: For dissidents who find themselves on Red Notice, it's all about location, location, location

Living in Russia's shadow, by Irina Babloyan, Andrei Soldatov and Kirill Martynov: Three Russian journalists in exile outline why paranoia around their safety is justified.

Comment

Solidarity, Assange-style, by Martin Bright: Our editor-at-large on his own experience working with Assange.

Challenging words, by Emma Briant: An academic on what to do around the weaponisation of words.

Good, bad and everything that's in between, by Ruth Anderson: New threats to free speech call for new approaches.

Culture

Ukraine's disappearing ink, by Victoria Amelina and Stephen Komarnyckyj: One of several Ukrainian writers killed in Russia's war, Amelina's words live on.

One-way ticket to freedom?, by Ghanem Al Masarir and Jemimah Steinfeld: A dissident has the last laugh on Saudi, when we publish his skit.

The show must go on, by Katie Dancey-Downs, Yahya Marei and Bahaa Eldin Ibdah: In the midst of war Palestine's Freedom Theatre still deliver cultural resistance, some of which is published here.

Fight for life - and language, by William Yang: Uyghur linguists are doing everything they can to keep their culture alive.

Freedom is very fragile, by Mark Frary and Oleksandra Matviichuk: The winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize on looking beyond the Nuremberg Trials lens.