Coronavirus: Open letter calls for determined actions to protect free flow of information

Coronavirus: Open letter calls for determined actions to protect free flow of information -

Dear President of the Committee of Ministers, and future President of the Committee of Ministers,

We, the undersigned press freedom and freedom of expression organisations, are writing to express our profound concerns about the dangers of governments taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to punish independent and critical media and to introduce restrictions on the access and scrutiny by media to government decisions and actions.

In this respect we support the joint statement put out by the three global and regional special rapporteurs for freedom of expression, David Kaye (U.N.), Harlem Désir (OSCE) and Edison Lanza (OAS), that the “right to freedom of expression, ……, applies to everyone, everywhere, and may only be subject to narrow restrictions”.

While we appreciate that certain emergency measures are needed to combat the pandemic, all such measures must be necessary, proportionate, strictly time-limited and subject to regular scrutiny, in order to solve the immediate health crisis.
Unfortunately, several governments across Europe are already using the pandemic to claim extraordinary powers that can undermine democratic institutions, including the free press.

Read the full letter protecting the flow of information to tackle coronavirus.