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Verisk Maplecroft's Human Rights Outlook 2019 says risks spread for businesses & civil society as more countries embrace authoritarian tactics

"‘Strongmen’ regimes lead charge against freedom of speech and privacy: Human Rights Outlook 2019", 07 Aug 2019

Threats to the freedom of speech and privacy of citizens, NGOs and businesses are on the rise in an increasing number of countries, as more governments attempt to stymie dissent and control the public narrative around their actions. Our...Human Rights Outlook reveals that attacks on these basic freedoms are getting worse. We’ve identified a significant uptick in the number of countries rated ‘extreme risk’ in our Freedom of Expression and Right to Privacy Indices over the last two years [including] Djibouti, Somalia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya for the right to privacy, and Venezuela, Qatar, PNG, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, Morocco and Mozambique for freedom of expression... Operating in jurisdictions where the internet is tightly controlled presents significant operational and reputational risks to business... The business challenges related to freedom of speech and privacy are most obvious for ICT, tech and media firms, but there are direct and indirect implications for all foreign companies... Declines in privacy and freedom of expression can signify where the rule of law may be under threat from governments, which can undermine the overall business environment. A red flag for this is the targeting of media organisations and journalists... [Refers to AngloGold Ashanti, BHP, Esperanza Resources, Yamana Gold].