Human Rights Defenders: Over 80 Countries Use COVID-19 To Tighten Restrictions
Under the guise of a pandemic, governments have introduced new laws that infringe on freedom of speech and the media
More than 80 governments have used the coronavirus pandemic to justify restrictions on media freedom and peaceful protests, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch..
The authors of the report analyzed data on how, over the past year, governments have used emergency laws, arrests, threats and restrictions to suppress opposition sentiments..
Under UN treaties, countries have the right to take action to protect public health and respond to emergencies. However, Human Rights Watch experts have identified numerous cases where governments have ignored their international obligations, including with regard to access to information..
Organization calls on UN Human Rights Council to investigate.
«Shocking is the sheer number of governments that have passed new laws with vague and ambiguous wording prohibiting the dissemination of certain types of information.», – noted Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch for Crises and Conflict Jerry Simpson.
So, in China, the authorities quickly began to detain and censor doctors, journalists and activists who were the first to report the virus.
Beijing announced last month that it had investigated more than 17,000 people for spreading false news about the pandemic online, according to Human Rights Watch..