Humbled by the heroes of free expression

Index on CensorshipHowever tough the journalism climate becomes, and however deep the cuts still to come, it’s worth remembering that, in this country at least, we’re able to practise our chosen profession in a safe framework where challenging ideas and orthodoxies is recognised as a vital part of an informed democracy.

Last night I attended the annual Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards at the Royal Institution in Mayfair and heard stories about parts of the world where basic safeguards that we’ve enjoyed for so long we almost take them for granted are not the norm.

In these places, calling power to account, expressing ideas, blogging, performing, writing and broadcasting can be short-cuts to ugly and brutal intimidation, incarceration, torture and even death.

It’s worth pausing to think about that before returning to the day-to-day fray with, perhaps, a renewed inner resolve to shine a light on those who seek to repress those freedoms and on those who challenge them.


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