Human rights activists were generally downbeat about the global state of affairs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, often pointing to 2020 as one of the worst years in memory for declining civil liberties.
Here are seven ways governments have used the Chinese coronavirus pandemic to diminish human rights and civil liberties.
Freedom of Speech: The United Nations was among many agencies and advocacy groups to worry about the damage inflicted on freedom of speech during the pandemic, which included both rampant disinformation and ham-handed restrictions on speech in the name of controlling “disinformation.”
The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), an international education and development nonprofit, published a report in September called Freedom of Expression During Covid-19 that took a detailed look at how 20 different governments used the pandemic to curtail freedom of speech. Many of these restrictions were justified as efforts to control disinformation. Governments often cited the pandemic as an excuse to dramatically tighten existing restrictions on speech. Few examples of effective resistance to the new “emergency” restrictions were cited.