The newest way to silence dissent during a pandemic


The same global health crisis that is helping the resurgence of authoritarian rule around the world claimed the lives of three imprisoned journalists last month, notes Jason Rezaian. Mohamed Monir (above) in Egypt, David Romero in Honduras and Azimjon Askarov in Kyrgyzstan came from very different parts of the world. But each had spent his life expressing dissent and criticism in places where doing so invited great personal risk, he writes for The Post:

Their avoidable deaths drive home the point that no other event or political trend in recent memory has been more destructive to press freedom than the covid-19 pandemic. Keeping journalists in prison or arresting them for covering current events has radically different implications in the current health crisis. Detainees are far more likely to get ill or even die due to a lack of adequate care.

Authoritarian governments are using the outbreak of Covid-19 to silence critics, said a recent open letter signed by more than 500 former world leaders and Nobel Laureates. The pandemic poses serious threats to democracy, according to “A Call to Defend Democracy”, an Open Letter initiated by the Stockholm-based International IDEA and the US-based National Endowment for Democracy. The letter is signed by some 73 pro-democracy institutions as well as a roll call of global political and civic leaders, including 13 Nobel Laureates and 62 former heads of state and government.

POMED’s Weekly Wire reports that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi has been arrested after prolonged judicial harassment.

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