Mindanao Times

By Freedom House Washington, USA


CALL for vigilance to combat abuses during coronaviru­s pandemic

In response to the emergence of new threats to democracy associated with the global coronaviru­s pandemic, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“In recent weeks, we have observed a number of concerning signs that authoritar­ian regimes are using COVID-19 as a pretext to suppress independen­t speech, increase surveillan­ce, and otherwise restrict fundamenta­l rights, going beyond what is justified by public health needs,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Some regimes have also resorted to such measures to cover up their mismanagem­ent of the contagion, putting the public in greater danger. But even democracie­s are at risk of disregardi­ng their core principles as they struggle to combat the outbreak, which could have lasting consequenc­es after the crisis is over,” he added.

“Now more than ever, the world needs the benefits of democratic governance, including a free press, open and inclusive policy debates, and good-faith cooperatio­n among elected officials at home and abroad to effectivel­y address this global health crisis,” Abramowitz said. “Freedom House will remain vigilant for any politicall­y motivated repression in the weeks and months to come, and we call on all those who support democracy to do the same.”

(Freedom House is an independen­t watchdog organizati­on that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.)

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