In response to the pandemic, governments around the world have been enacting new policies to protect public health — including many that are necessary to slow the spread of the virus. But in a time when authoritarianism is also on the rise, some governments are exploiting the public health crisis to impose dangerous policies that could impact civil society long after the pandemic ends.
The BBC, CNN, the New York Times, AP and other international reporters have been investigating the attempt by Chinese authorities to construct an official narrative of the pandemic domestically and internationally.
Massive data leak reveals Israeli NSO Group's spyware used to target activists, journalists, and political leaders globally
Read Amnesty's article on The Pegasus Project that revealed how spyware is being used by repressive governments to target journalists, activists and critics.
According to CIVICUS, only 3.4% of the world's population lives in countries with open civic space. Read this article by IISD on how the pandemic has affected the distribution, use and oversight of power determining people's well being.
This Reuters article is concerned about new COVID-19 scanners in Abi Dhabi and the privacy violations and risks they present. Data rights groups are warning residents against this new technology; "Matt Mahmoudi, a technology researcher at Amnesty International, called it "the surveillance-for-services tradeoff" often seen in smart cities".
This report published by CIVICUS looks at the state of civil society over the last 10 years and identifies 10 trends affecting civil society, how they have affected how the pandemic has been experienced and thus reacted to.
Listen here to Episode 1: How COVID-19 has impacted civic space
During the COVID-19 pandemic, civil society organisations took action as frontline responders, and as defenders of democracy, civic space and human rights. They often faced greater restrictions, sometimes under the guise of pandemic emergency response. In this episode, we hear from activists and researchers about what this all means.
Read this article published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) discussing the findings of a new study monitoring civic space in Mozambique, Nigeria, and Pakistan. It found that autocratic behaviour and democratic freedoms have been excessively restricted during the pandemic.