Index on Censorship celebrates 40 years

The magazine, founded by a Hampstead man, has been a beacon for free speech campaigning

Index on Censorship will celebrate it’s 40th anniversary of campaigning for freedom of expression. The organisation was set up in 1972 to to fight for the right of free speech for Soviet dissidents. It quickly became a campaign against challenges to the freedom of expression worldwide and the quarterly magazine of investigative journalism is it’s mouthpiece.

The organisation was set up through Writers and Scholars International, a group founded by poet Stephen Spender, philosopher Stuart Hampshire, the then editor of The Observer David Astor, writer and Soviet Union expert Edward Crankshaw. Spender was in his youth a student at the Hall School, Hampstead.

As well as investigative journalism, the magazine also publishes fiction and poetry. Index’s archive features work from Vaclav Havel, Nadine Gordimer, Salman Rushdie, Doris Lessing, Arthur Miller and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Index has made history with some of its achievements, recently being involved in the campaign for libel reform and in the past having published, among other things, the stories of the ‘disappeared’ in Argentina and the work of banned poets in Cuba and the work of Chinese poets who escaped the massacres that ended the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.