Speaking out against censorship

As May 3 was World Press Freedom Day, we decided to showcase recent campaigns that defend the truth.

par Philippe Paget , Maydream (AdForum, Epica)

Fake news, propaganda around the war in Ukraine, the danger that AI will rewrite history: perhaps more than ever, the truth is under threat. So it’s no surprise that, around the world, charities, the media and agencies have spoken up to defend the truth and decry censorship.

One of the most remarkable campaigns of recent months came from FCB Lisboa and Penguin Books. To celebrate the anniversary of the revolution in Portugal, contemporary artists collaborated on a manifesto that transformed the former fascist constitution into a powerful cry for freedom.



As you can imagine, Reporters Without Borders regularly run creative campaigns combating censorship. In association with the Swedish agency Akestam Holst NOA, this project used newsprint itself to protest against new legislation that threatened to muffle journalists.




The newspaper An Nahar in the UAE has a history of using clever techniques to defend press freedom. This time, it smuggled formerly censored newspapers into the main newspaper to celebrate a journalist who gave his life for the truth.



Is social media biased? There’s evidence to suggest so – evidence that UK photographer Rankin and his creative agency highlight in this campaign, revealing “The Unseen”.



Amazon Prime wanted to promote its documentary about Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen who was imprisoned at the Guantánamo Bay camp, without being charged, between 2002 and October 2016. The result shows the difficulty investigators face when almost all available information has been redacted.



In Slovakia – a neighbor to Ukraine – many people believe the Russian invasion was provoked by the West. So the European Commission and local agency This Is Locco used a popular Russian fairytale to suggest an alternative.



It doesn’t take long in a conversation about censorship and repression for the name “George Orwell” to crop up. Here’s a spooky film for the launch of the classic “1984” in a new audiobook format. As the agency B-Reel comments, “it comes at a time where mass surveillance, alternative facts, cancel culture and media censorship is front page news.”