Misuse of Covid 19 measures

The coronavirus pandemic marked a worrying new wave of serious threats and attacks on media freedom in Europe warned the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists in early 2020.

Its annual report for 2020 said Covid-19 had accelerated a growing pattern of intimidation to silence journalists on the continent through attacks, threats, media ‘capture’ and sweeping emergency laws that were open to abuse and severely restricted the media’s ability to hold state power to account.

And the CoE and other international organizations reiterated these warnings through 2020 and 2021.

The UK was not immune to this trend.
The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson used its overwhelming majority to pass new legislation in the House of Commons that would allow police to curb the right of protest and could endanger freedom of expression; this legislation was still being debated in the House of Lords at the end of 2021 and awaited final approval.

And with the return of Parliament in autumn 2021 it had plans for a number of other measures that similarly could threaten both free speech and the ability of journalists to do their job.

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