19 October 2021
An Amnesty International report looks at the how government attacks on freedom of expression are affecting peoples' ability to access relevant information on the pandemic, worsening the public health situation. The report documents instances of the way in which censorship and punishment have been used to reduce the quality of information that reaches people.
"Attacks on freedom of expression by governments, combined with a flood of misinformation across the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, have had a devastating impact on peoples’ ability to access accurate and timely information to help them cope with the burgeoning global health crisis, said Amnesty International today in a new report.
Silenced and Misinformed: Freedom of Expression in Danger During Covid-19 reveals how governments’ and authorities’ reliance on censorship and punishment throughout the crisis has reduced the quality of information reaching people. The pandemic has provided a dangerous situation where governments are using new legislation to shut down independent reporting, as well as attack people who have been directly critical or even attempted to look into their government’s response to Covid-19.
“Throughout the pandemic, governments have launched an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression, severely curtailing peoples’ rights. Communication channels have been targeted, social media has been censored, and media outlets have been closed down – having a dire impact of the public’s ability to access vital information about how to deal with Covid-19,” said Amnesty International’s senior director for research advocacy and policy, Rajat Khosla."
The reports cites cases from dozens of countries, including China, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Niger, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Nicaragua, Russia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Botswana, Serbia, Brazil, Morocco/Western Sahara, India, Chad and Belarus.
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