Report on disease pandemics and the freedom of opinion and expression
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
To the HRC at its 44th session
In his report the Special Rapporteur raised concerns that some national and international measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic may be failing to meet international human rights standards related to freedom of expression. The Special Rapporteur highlighted five areas of concern: limitations to the right to access, impart and receive information; restrictions to Internet access; threats to journalism; public health disinformation and an increasing use of surveillance tools. The report concluded that the free flow of information, unhindered by threats and intimidation and penalty, protects life and health and enables and promotes critical social, economic, political, and other policy discussions and decision-making.