Great Britain

Pandemic power grabs all over the world

Long running protests against anti-Muslim citizenship laws in New Delhi have been broken up under coronavirus laws

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Image: Sanjeev Yadav

The coronavirus pandemic is not just changing how we live and work – it is also changing who has power and how they can use it.

Research from openDemocracy this week shows that more than 2 billion people live in countries whose parliaments have been suspended or restricted following the outbreak of coronavirus. 

Serbia, Turkey, Romania, Mongolia, Thailand, the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Morocco are just some of the countries that have detained journalists or enacted measures that could stifle reporting.

The crisis has led to unprecedented use of surveillance across the world, police violence disproportionately targeted at minorities in many places, and an outpouring of disinformation and propaganda.

openDemocracy and Source Material are tracking how the coronavirus crisis is affecting democracy across the world. Working with partners including Privacy International, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and COVID19 Emergency Watch, we’re tracking the pandemic’s impact on civil rights and the environment.

Each week we’re sending this email newsletter on how governments are suspending civil rights, rolling back hard-won freedoms and undermining the fight against climate change. You can read this week’s bulletin below and send us any news for our next update at [email protected].

To receive our weekly email, sign up here: as this crisis develops, we’re going to need many eyes on what our governments are up to. 

Join our Zoom call

At 5pm UK time, Thursday 9 April, join our online panel discussion: how coronavirus is being used to attack democracy, and how to fight back. Sign up here.

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