onsdag 12. august 2020

From Belarus to Hong Kong, journalists 'are bearing the brunt of the global surge in repression'

From Hong Kong to Belarus, we are witnessing new infringements on the public and on freedom of the press. I asked Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, to put this moment into perspective. He wrote: "In Hong Kong, more than 100 police raid the offices of the independent newspaper Apple Daily and haul away publisher Jimmy Lai for allegedly violating the territory's new national security law. In Belarus, police beat and arrest journalists, aiding and abetting dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko's effort to steal another election. There's no apparent connection between these two naked acts of media aggression other than to acknowledge that authoritarian governments around the world are having a moment, asserting increased control over information and cracking down on dissenting voices who challenge the narrative of state power."

"These repressive efforts," Simon added, "are made easier by the fact that the COVID19 pandemic has provided the perfect pretext for governments to assert expanded authority, and efforts to control the spread of the virus have deeply undermined the global relationships and institutions that sometimes constrained the worst behavior. Journalists around the world -- in China, Belarus, but also in the Philippines and Brazil -- are bearing the brunt of the global surge in repression."