Autocracies & democracies around the world suppress COVID-19 information & crack down on activists

Author: Joshua Keating, Slate, Published on: 6 April 2020

"Strongman Medicine: Suspicious Numbers and Brutal Quarantines", 02 Apr 2020

Accurate and timely information is vital to combating a pandemic, but still, some countries’ first impulses are to cover up the spread of the disease. [W]e look at a few of those efforts, plus some brutal methods of enforcing stay-at-home orders... 

China: The official line from Beijing claims that China is over the worst of the coronavirus... Businesses...are reopening... China’s track record... included suppression of information and arrests of whistleblowers - some skepticism of the official narrative is more than warranted...

Russia: Officially, there have been 2,337 cases in Russia... [but] aggressive measures put in place to punish the spread of “false” information on the outbreak online may also be preventing media outlets from publishing accurate information...

Japan: ...Japan, which has not adopted widespread testing or the kinds of strict social distancing measures seen elsewhere, saw the number of cases spike dramatically since it was announced last week that the 2020 Olympics would be postponed..[Some] suggested government was manipulating the stats..

India: [Government] announced unprecedented lockdown... creating confusion about how the millions of poor Indians in the country’s informal sector are supposed to support themselves. The lockdown has left vast numbers of migrant workers stranded and hungryReports of police abuses quickly surfaced...

Kenya: Kenya’s police have also been accused of using excessive force to enforce the country’s dusk-to-dawn curfew...

Colombia: ...Colombian death squads have been taking advantage of the country’s coronavirus lockdown to kill activists in rural areas. These...factions...have turned to drug trafficking and illegal mining...now...targetting land and environmental activists...

EthiopiaDue to the coronavirus outbreak, Ethiopia has postponed what many hoped would be the country’s first true democratic elections...

HungaryHungary’s parliament... passed the emergency law...allowing President Viktor Orbán to rule by decree for an indefinite period...

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