Index on Censorship has since staunchly stuck to its original purpose to "record and analyse all forms of inroads into freedom of expression and examine the censorship situation in individual countries and in relation to vfarious constitutions and legal codes. Examples of censored material (poetry, prose, articles) as well as the results of fundings will be published in the journal."
As part of its anniversary celebrations, Index's publisher, Sage, is offering free access to its archives. They can be explored for 40 days from 26 March 2012 by following this link.
For its 40th Anniversary Award, Index has singled out the Research and Information Centre Memorial, which logs the brutal repression suffered by millions in former Soviet countries, citing its continued dedication to guaranteeing freedom of information. "The centre has demonstrated a fierce commitment to protecting human rights. It not only chronicles the crimes of the Stalinist period, but monitors current threats against those who speak out against injustice. Memorial’s remarkable archive includes letters, diaries, transcripts, photographs, and sound files. Individuals with first-hand experience of Stalin’s terror and the Soviet gulag have donated documentation they had hidden during this brutal period."
This crucial work of restoring public memory of repression and disappearance fits squarely with the concept of a right to memory, itself one of many communication righs advocated by WACC. Memorial’s work is a vivid reminder of the very real risks taken by those who speak out against repression, notably investigative journalists working in such currently volatile countries as Syria, Mexico and Myanmar.
Accepting the award, Irina Flige, Memorial's Director of Research and Information, described it as "A a recognition of the fact that truthful and exhaustive information about the past is just as essential to freedom as truthful and exhaustive information about the present day, and that the concealment of historical documents, the impediment of access to such documents, the persecution of those who try to make such documents freely accessible (and this still happens sometimes in Russia) are just as unacceptable as the concealment of topical information about human rights violations today.”
For further information, visit Index on Censorship.