Commissioner for Human Rights warns governments not to restrict media freedom during COVID-19

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic has warned governments against using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to introduce disproportionate restrictions to press freedom, in a recently released statement.

Journalists in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Albania, and Italy have reported restrictions in reporting. Mijatovic has reminded governments that measures to combat disinformation must never prevent journalists and media actors from carrying out their work.

‘In the past weeks, parliaments, governments and local authorities have adopted legislation, decrees or decisions that clearly risk hampering the work of journalists and media actors and restricting the public’s right to receive information,’ Mijatovic said in a statement in defense of journalists and media rights.

The commissioner denounced a number of governments for restricting the work of journalists. She called on countries with restrictions that violate journalists’ rights to repeal them immediately.