UN experts warn of closing digital space amid COVID-19 pandemic
Author: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Published on: 2 August 2020
UN Special Rapporteurs* attending the annual RightsCon conference on human rights in the digital age, the first fully online, stressed that “COVID-19 has made us even more reliant on digital technologies and the space they create for civic engagement. With the closing of civic space and restrictions on offline media, access to universal, open, affordable, secure, and stable Internet is vital to save lives, to prevent abuses, to continue to promote and protect human rights and urgently increase access to information”.
“Digital technologies that construct and surround the space in which we conduct our lives during these unprecedented times must not be used by governments or companies to restrict fundamental freedoms, reduce civic space, and target civil society actors, including human rights defenders,” they said.
... “States continue to leverage the Internet and digital technologies to quell dissent, engage in unlawful surveillance, and strip individuals of their capacity for collective action, both online and off. We are deeply concerned that such patterns of abuse have accelerated under the exigencies of the global pandemic,” they said.