Index on Censorship have created a worldwide interactive digital map to turn the spotlight on incidents where freedoms are being eroded during the Covid-19 crisis.
The map enables visitors to the campaigning body’s website to easily access information and location of a growing number of instances of freedoms being attacked.
And Index are calling on supporters to ad to the survey by reporting similar incidents.
“Index is already being alerted to attacks and violations against the media in the current coronavirus related crisis, as well as other alarming news pertaining to privacy and freedoms,” states the organisation.
“We … see raising awareness of any attacks at this time as of paramount importance. We have already written about what happened in China in the early stages of the outbreak in relation to reporting there.
“We have created this monitoring map, in conjunction with Justice for Journalists Foundation, to track media violations during the coronavirus crisis.”
The map reports on the detention or arrest of journalists and physical attacks. It also covers the introduction of new legislation or changes to existing laws that threaten to stop journalists from doing their jobs and social media restrictions that threaten the free reporting of information.
The We also feature situations where governments have implemented laws to stop the spread of “fake news” – an idea that may sound sensible but sets up governments as the final arbiters of what is true and what is not.
Examples of attacks on freedom include:
- The Aruba government has said that journalists may not break the curfew imposed in the country because they “do not do essential work”.
- A lawsuit claiming damages filed against Newsweek Poland and journalists Wojciech Cieśla and Julia Dauksza following the publication of an article reporting a Polish clothing company had bought a supply of several hundred thousand protective masks and sent them to their workers in China in order to maintain production continuity.
- The Moroccan government approving a bill on the use of social media and open broadcast networks which will make spreading false news a criminal offence.