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EDITORIAL – JO GLANVILLE
devastating insight into how visual art, as much as journalism, is becoming a victim of censorship in Iran.
Index worked closely with the Committee to Protect Journalists in campaigning for the release of Maziar Bahari; CPJ’s executive director Joel Simon here charts a roadmap for forcing governments to bring the killers of journalists to justice [pp31–43]. It’s a campaign that has successfully put impunity on the agenda – and is an impressive lesson in how to fight for press freedom.
But that’s about the limit of the good news in this issue. For the first time, Index is devoting an entire edition to a review of the year. The usual suspects top the bill: China, Iran, The Gambia, Sri Lanka, Burma, Zimbabwe, Russia. Most of the contributors to this issue are on the front line. Dmitry Muratov, editor of the exceptional Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta gives an exclusive interview to Index. His dogged defiance and unquenchable spirit are testimony to an astonishing resilience of spirit and sense of mission. The celebrated Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is similarly relentless in his insistence on speaking out. He had to undergo brain surgery this autumn after being assaulted in Chengdu, where he was stopped from attending the trial of Tan Zuoren (an activist accused of undermining the state after calling for an investigation into the collapse of school buildings in the earthquake in 2008).
Perhaps the greatest disappointment of the year, however, has been Barack Obama’s retreat from his commitment to transparency. Melissa Goodman of the ACLU makes a searing critique of his tactics, and calls on the president to practise the openness that he pledged on the campaign trail [pp23–30].
This is our last publication of the magazine with Taylor & Francis. From next year Index will be published by Sage. We’d like to thank everyone at Taylor & Francis for their support and look forward to an exciting future with our new publishers, who will be launching an attractive set of subscription packages in 2010. Go to our website www.indexoncensorship.org for details, where you can also keep up to date with censorship stories, campaigns and news. r