Censorship and surveillance could be the biggest rights challenges post Covid-19

By Mandeep Tiwana, Chief Programmes Officer at CIVICUS & Marianna Belalba Barreto, Civic Space Researcher

Significant public attention in relation to Covid-19 has focused on the economic dimensions of the virus resulting in joblessness and deprivation on a monumental scale. But something else is severely under threat — civic space — basically the right to freely organise, participate and communicate in public life.

Over the past few months, while health and economic concerns have taken public stage, insidious power grabs have been taking place, prompting the United Nation’s special expert on the right to privacy to warn that “dictatorships and authoritarian societies often start in the face of a threat”.

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