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100 years on from the Russian revolution – special report

June 27, 2017

*Groupthink continues to be a threat to writers and journalists

*The freedom to do comedy must be defended

London, UK. The long shadows that Russia’s 1917 revolution cast on freedoms globally is the subject of a new special report in Index on Censorship Magazine.

“Government’s often deploy tactics to restrict speech and censor the media in order to preserve their own image. But when journalists and novelists are told they must support the government line, you know your nation is in trouble,” said Rachael Jolley, editor of the Index on Censorship Magazine

The magazine features reports from Angola, China, the UK, Russia, Uzbekistan, Taiwan, and the USA among others.

Lenin believed that journalists, novelists and opinion formers were either with him or against the state, and if they were against the state they shouldn’t be allowed to write or outline their views.

In the editorial Jolley draws parallels between Lenin and rulers of today, including Angola’s President José Eduardi dis Sabtos, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and, recently, US President Donald Trump who use different methods to express disapproval, and silence, those who are critical of their policies and governments.

Describing Russia today, Jolley describes how under President Vladimir Putin’s Russia most of the media fall into line with government positions:

“For instance, according to the Index-led Mapping Media Freedom project, major Russian national television channels abruptly reduced the number of times they mentioned the US president. This followed a Kremlin order to cut back on “fawning coverage” of Trump”, Jolley explains.

“Politicians fear being made fun of, and fear that a satirical representation of them may take root in the electorate’s brain,” said Jolley, explaining the need to fight for the freedom of comedians and satirists to do their work. She also pointed out that in the past 12 months comedians in Germany and Spain had faced prosecution.

Commenting on the publication of the issue, Jolley describes how in this era of “fake-news”, it is more important than ever to champion free speech:

“The idea of groupthink, satirized by George Orwell, continues to haunt journalists and other writers, she added, ahead of the magazine launch debate on June 27th. 

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Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 950 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne. www.sagepublishing.com

Index on Censorship launched in 1972, has reporters around the world. International in outlook, outspoken in comment, and publishing some of the world’s finest writers, Index exposes stories that are suppressed, publishes banned writing, investigative journalism and new fiction. Previous contributors include Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky, Nadine Gordimer, Aung San Suu Kyi, Salman Rushdie, Tom Stoppard and Ai Weiwei. www.indexoncensorship.org

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