COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker

Keep Civic Space Healthy

This tracker monitors government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights, focusing on emergency laws. For information about our methodology, click here.

For more information and analysis by region, click here.

coronavirus-icon
Country with entries

The COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker is a collaborative effort by the ICNL, ECNL, and our global network of partners, with generous research support from the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin. This is an ongoing effort, and we welcome you to email us at epage@icnl.org and simona@ecnl.org to share additional resources.


Filter by:
Country
Issues
Type
Date

Locations

Type

Issues

Introduction Date

from
to
or
X

Algeria

Law 20-06 Amending the Penal Code

The amendments increase prison sentences for defamation, and introduce new penalties including prison sentences for the dissemination of false information. Under the amendments, new offenders face prison sentences of between one and three years. In addition, penalties are heightened if the offence takes place “at a time of a public health lockdown or a natural, biological or technological catastrophe or any other form of catastrophe,” with first time offenders facing up to five years in prison. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 29 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Argentina

"Cyber Patrols" of Social Media by the Ministry of Security

The Security Minister, Sabina Frederic, stated in a video conference that security forces are carrying out "cyber patrols" on social networks. In an effort to monitor "social humor" and curb misinformation about the coronavirus, the cyber patrols have resulted in at least 12 criminal cases against individuals accused of "public intimidation," a crime punishable by up to six years in prison. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 8 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Surveillance, Expression, Privacy
return to map
Armenia

No. 298-N Declaring a State of Emergency

The decree declares a "state of emergency" to respond to the novel coronavirus, and provides for the suspension of certain constitutional rights and freedoms, including freedom of movement and freedom of peaceful assembly. The decree prohibits public gatherings of more than 20 persons. The decree also provides that any dissemination of information, including online, that refers to the coronavirus or activities carried out by health authorities, may only refer to information provided by a special emergency office under the Prime Minister of Armenia. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 16 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Emergency, Expression, Access to Information, Movement
return to map
Azerbaijan

Amendments to the Law on Information

The amendments prohibit the publication online of "false information threatening to cause damage to human life and health… or other socially dangerous consequences." (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 17 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Bolivia

Supreme Decree No. 4200

The decree extends the nationwide lockdown and stipulates additional measures. The Decree prohibits gatherings, and allows one person per residence at a time to leave to acquire essential items. Persons are allowed to leave their residence only during prescribed days and times, as determined by the last digit of their ID number. The Decree also establishes penalities for persons who incite non-compliance, misinform, or cause uncertainty among the population. Violators will be subject to criminal charges for crimes against public health, and can face one to ten years in prison if convicted. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 26 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Expression, Movement
return to map
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Decree on False News

The government of the Republika Srpska issued a decree that forbids causing “panic and disorder” by publishing or transmitting false news during a state of emergency. Individuals found in violation of the decree will be fined between 1,000 and 3,000 Bosnian marks (approximately 500-1,500 Euros). Organizations face a fine of between 3,000 and 9,000 marks (1,500-4,500 Euros). (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 19 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Botswana

SI 61 of 2020, Emergency Powers (Covid 19) Regulations

The regulations declare a nationwide lockdown and curfew from 8pm to 8am. Violations are punishable by a fine and up to six months' imprisonment. The regulations prohibit gatherings of more than 2 persons, and close all schools and churches. Persons are prohibited from relaying any information to the public about COVID-19 from a source other than the Director of Health Services and the WHO. Persons are also prohibited from publishing any statement with the intention to deceive any other person about COVID-19. Violators face a fine of up to 100,000 Pula ($8,100), imprisonment for up to five years, or both. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: regulation
Date Introduced: 2 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Expression, Movement
return to map
Cambodia

Law on National Management in the State of Emergency

The law provides the government with broad new powers during a state of emergency. These include: banning meetings and gatherings; restricting people from leaving their homes; mobilizing military forces; surveilling telecommunications "by any means"; banning or restricting news media that may harm "national security" or create confusion about the state of emergency; and other measures that are "suitable and necessary" to respond to the emergency. "Obstructing" the state's response to the emergency, or noncompliance with the response in a way that creates "public chaos," is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a fine of up to 5 million riels ($1,200). Organizations found culpable of these offenses may be fined up to 1 billion riels ($247,000). (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 10 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Association, Assembly, Emergency, Surveillance, Press Freedom, Expression, Privacy, Access to Information, Movement, Militarization
return to map
Cambodia

Arrests and Criminal Penalties for "Fake News"

According to police spokespeople, more than 40 people have been arrested for spreading coronavirus-related "fake news." A number of those arrested are affiliated with the dissolved opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 16 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Chad

Decree No. 379/PR/2020

The decree announces a state of emergency in select provinces of Chad. The decree empowers local civil and military authorities to prohibit the movement of people and vehicles; to establish protection zones where people are "regulated"; to temporarily close performance halls, bars and meeting areas; to ban meetings "likely to provoke disturbances of public order"; to order nightly home searches; to collect all weapons; to take all measures to ensure control of the press and publications of all types of radio and television broadcasts; and to make arrests. Per the order, this expansion of local authorities' powers ends with the end of the state of emergency. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 26 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Emergency, Press Freedom, Expression, Privacy, Access to Information, Movement, Militarization
return to map
China

Opinions on Strictly Punishing Violations and Crimes that Obstruct the Control of the Coronavirus Epidemic

The Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Justice jointly issued COVID-19 judicial opinions to clarify standards in the application provisions of PRC's criminal law. According to the opinions, the commission of certain crimes during the period of epidemic prevention and control may be subject to heavier punishment. Notably, the opinions call to "strictly punish crimes of fabricating or spreading rumors in accordance with law," and criminalize a variety of types of dissemination of "false" information on information networks. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 10 Feb 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Colombia

Resolution No. 385 Declaring a Health Emergency

The resolution declares a "health emergency" throughout the country until May 30, on account of the coronavirus. Among other things, prohibits large public gatherings, and orders television and radio stations and all other mass media to disseminate information provided by the Health Ministry. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 12 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Egypt

Intimidation and Arrest of Healthcare Workers Discussing COVID-19 Crisis

Between the February outbreak of COVID-19 in Egypt and early July, Egypt arrested at least ten doctors and six journalists. Authorities have also instructed health workers not to discuss the health crisis with the press. The Supreme Council for Media Regulation issued a series of announcements, including on March 10, April 21, and June 16, each of which threatens legal action against journalists or media outlets who might depict negative aspects of the government's response to the COVID-19 crisis.

(See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 6 Jul 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Egypt

Supreme Council for Media Regulation Limits Access to Online News

The Supreme Council for Media Regulation has blocked or limited access to dozens of news websites and social media accounts for allegedly spreading false information about the coronavirus. The SCMR has not made public the targets of the blocking nor the allegedly false information. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 3 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Ethiopia

Regulation No. 3 of 2020 on the Implementation of the State of Emergency Declaration

The Attorney General issued regulations to further define and implement the state of emergency. The regulations prohibit gatherings of more than four people. Under the regulations, spreading information that can cause public confusion or alarm is prohibited. The regulations also require all media professionals to report Covid-related news in a way that is neither exaggerated nor understated, and is not likely to create confusion or alarm. The regulations create a legal duty to report anyone suspected of contracting the virus to the police or Ministry of Health. Violations of these provisions are subject to penalty of up to three years in prison a fine of up to 200,000 Ethiopian Birr ($6,000). (See primary source or citation here)

Type: regulation
Date Introduced: 11 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Privacy, Access to Information
return to map
Hungary

Law on Protection Against the Coronavirus

The law extends the government's emergency powers, and suspends elections during that time. Under the law, the government may effectively rule by decree, for an indefinite period of time, without being bound by current laws. The law also punishes anyone who “distorts” or publishes “false” information on the pandemic with five years in jail.

The law was withdrawn as of 18 June 2020, along with the termination of the "state of danger." (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 30 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Emergency, Press Freedom, Elections, Expression
return to map
India

Prior Approval Required for Publishing Information about Coronavirus

The Maharashtra government prohibits organizations or individuals from publicizing information about the coronavirus without ascertaining prior clearance from relevant government health authorities, in order to avoid spread of misinformation. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 24 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Iran

Arrests for Spreading Coronavirus-Related Rumors

A spokesman for the armed forces stated on April 28 that 3,600 people in Iran have been arrested for spreading rumors regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Civil society groups and government agencies outside Iran, including the U.S. State Department, have criticized Tehran for persecuting journalists who reported on the epidemic without obtaining prior approval from the government, or who attempted to report on the real extent of the outbreak in Iran by contacting foreign officials for information. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 29 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Iran

Restricting Internet Access

For 24 hours after announcing that a top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader had died as a result of the coronavirus, the government blocked access in Iran to the Farsi version of Wikipedia. A digital rights advocacy group has also reported widespread internet disruptions at night in certain parts of the country, including Qom, where the outbreak is believed to have originated. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 2 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Iraq

Arrest of Journalists and Protesters

At least 8 journalists were arrested in Iraqi Kurdistan while covering a protest by public school teachers and government employees who were demanding their salaries. Kurdish officials said that the journalists and 11 protesters were detained for violating the ban on mass gatherings, imposed due to COVID-19. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 21 May 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Press Freedom, Expression
return to map
Iraq

Suspension of News Outlet License

Iraq has revoked Reuters news agency's reporting license for three months, after the agency reported that the number of new coronavirus cases in the country was in the thousands--much higher than official figures. In addition to temporarily revoking Reuters's licence, Iraq said it would impose a fine of about $21,000, and asked Reuters to issue an apology for a report that "put social security at risk." (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 3 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Press Freedom, Expression
return to map
Jordan

State of Emergency

The decree declares a "state of emergency" under Art. 124 of Jordan's Constitution, on account of the coronavirus pandemic, and activates emergency provisions of Defense Law 13 of 1992. According to the decree and the Defense Law, the Prime Minister is charged with enacting measures to respond to the emergency. He has authority to suspend certain individual rights, including freedom of movement and expression. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 17 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Emergency, Expression, Movement
return to map
Jordan

Suspension of Newspapers

Within the framework of the National Defense Law, the Jordanian Council of Ministers suspends the printing and sale of paper newspapers, on grounds that they contribute to the spread of Covid-19. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 17 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Jordan

Prior Approval Required Before Speaking to Press About COVID-19

The Jordanian Health Minister institutes a policy requiring that all hospital directors and Health Ministry officials obtain permission from the Ministry before speaking with members of the press. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: policy
Date Introduced: 13 May 2020
Issue(s): Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Kenya

Ministry of Health Measures

The order suspends all public gatherings and meetings for 30 days. The order also states that Kenyans must not "abuse" social media platforms or spread misinformation that "can cause fear and panic." (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 13 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Lesotho

Declaration of COVID-19 State of Emergency Order 26 of 2020

The Prime Minister declares a national "state of emergency" and orders a nationwide lockdown, beginning March 30. All social gatherings are prohibited except for funerals where not more than 50 people are expected to attend. The decree also provides that members of the press must "refrain from publishing fake news." (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 18 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Emergency, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information, Movement
return to map
Malaysia

Arrests and Criminal Penalties for "Fake News"

Malaysian authorities are arresting individuals for spreading "fake news" related to COVID-19. Individuals are charged with provisions of the Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act that carry penalties of up to one year in prison and 50,000 Malaysian Ringgit ($11,400). (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 29 Jan 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Moldova

Parliamentary Decision on the Declaration of State of Emergency

The parliamentary decision declares a "state of emergency," under Article 66 of the Constitution, on account of the coronavirus. Among other things, the declaration provides for a prohibition on meetings, public demonstrations, and other mass events; coordination of mass media related to the crisis; and introduction of "special rules" for telecommunications during the crisis. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 17 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Emergency, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Moldova

The Audiovisual Council of the Republic of Moldova Provision No. 2

During the state of emergency, all audiovisual media providers under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Moldova are required to present the official position of the competent public authorities (World Health Organization, Exceptional Situation Commission of the Republic of Moldova, the Government of the Republic of Moldova, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection). All presenters, moderators, and editors must not express their own opinion on topics concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure "maximum accuracy and correctness." (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 24 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Morocco

Decree No. 2-20-292 on Special Provisions for a State of Health Emergency

The decree enables the government to declare a "state of health emergency" and take exceptional measures to stop the spread of disease. Anyone who contravenes the decree that declares a health emergency, or incites others to contravene the decree through speech or threat uttered in a public place or meeting, written or printed materials, photos, posters, audiovisual or electronic communications, or any other means can be imprisoned one to three months or be fined 300 to 1,300 dirhams ($30-$130). (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 23 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Emergency, Expression
return to map
Morocco

Suspension of Newspapers

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports announces the suspension of the publication and distribution of print newspapers until further notice. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 22 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Nepal

Closure of Online News Portals

The Press Council, an independent statutory authority, shut down 17 online news portals for allegedly publishing disinformation related to Covid-19. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 16 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression
return to map
North Macedonia

Measures and Recommendations from the 23rd Session of the Government

The Ministry of Interior has the mandate to undertake "appropriate measures" against people that spread disinformation on social media in relation to COVID, and against media outlets that further disseminate that information. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 3 May 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Oman

Suspension of Newspapers and Ban on Gatherings

The Supreme Committee for Dealing with COVID-19 orders all newspapers, magazines, and other publications to cease printing, and prohibits the circulation and sale of imported newspapers, magazines, and publications as well. The order also bans gatherings of any kind in public places, and provides that violators will be sanctioned. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 22 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Palestine

Emergency Order No. 1 of 2020

The decision, issued by the Prime Minister pursuant to his emergency powers, among other things restricts individuals' movement among governorates; prohibits gatherings of people including meetings, workshops, conferences, and demonstrations; and closes educational facilities and houses of worship. The decision also prohibits officials from making "any statement" to the press without permission from the Prime Minister. The decision generally prohibits all individuals from "dealing with any rumors or untrustworthy information, and the transferring and broadcasting thereof," and indicates that individuals should obtain information "from official sources only." The Prime Minister's decision orders all national security forces to ensure the decision's implementation, while protecting individuals' rights and freedoms.

(See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 6 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information, Movement, Militarization
return to map
Philippines

Act No. 11469 for the Nation to Heal As One

The law grants the president numerous broad and exceptional powers to deal with the pandemic. The law also provides in Section 6(6) that “spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms” is punishable by up to two months in jail and fines of up to one million pesos ($19,500). (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 24 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Russia

Law No. 100-FZ Introducing Changes to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code

The amendments to Russia's Criminal Code establish new penalties for violations of quarantine orders, according to which an individual who violates the orders may be punished with fines or prison time--ranging from 40,000 rubles ($640) to up to 7 years in prison if the quarantine violation causes two or more deaths. The amendments also establish that public dissemination of false information that threatens the public health during an emergency is punishable by 3 years in prison, or up to 5 years if it leads to "grave consequences." (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 1 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information, Movement
return to map
Serbia

Decree Centralizing the Distribution of Information on the Coronavirus

The decree provided that the Crisis Headquarters led by the Prime Minister is the sole source of information about the pandemic, and that information from unauthorized sources must not be considered accurate or verified. The order also provided for legal consequences for spreading disinformation during the state of emergency. Following criticism of the decree and the arrest of at least one journalist for her reporting on the pandemic, the Prime Minister announced on April 2--less than one week after the decree's introduction--that it would be revoked. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 28 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Solomon Islands

Emergency Powers (Covid-19) Regulations 2020

The regulations, issued under the Emergency Powers Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, grant the Prime Minister a range of powers, including the power to: (1) temporarily close public spaces or declare public spaces to be emergency zones and restrict the freedoms of movement and assembly in these emergency zones; (2) suspend access to media outlets and online media outlets if these are found to publish and/or disseminate false information that is likely to create public alarm or that constitutes a threat to public peace and safety; (3) suspend any trade union for any duration during the emergency period and deregister any trade union that contravenes an official government Order; and (4) terminate any public servant that publicly criticizes or contradicts the government or its policies. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: regulation
Date Introduced: 26 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Association, Assembly, Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information, Movement
return to map
South Africa

Disaster Management Regulations of 2020

Among other things, the regulations criminalize making statements intended to deceive another person about any measure taken by the government to address COVID-19. The regulations also prohibit gatherings of more than 100 people. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 18 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
South Africa

Electronic Communications, Postal and Telecommunications Directions

The regulations create numerous obligations for private actors: radio services are required to stream public announcements on COVID; internet providers are obliged to remove "fake news" from their platforms immediately after identifying it; and national address systems and databases must be made available to assist government in tracking and tracing indivudals infected or exposed. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: regulation
Date Introduced: 26 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Sri Lanka

Arrests for False Information

Sri Lanka’s police announced that it would arrest those who disseminate false or disparaging statements about government officials combating the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The next day, five persons were arrested on charges of posting false and misleading content about COVID-19 on social media.

(See primary source or citation here)
Type: practice
Date Introduced: 1 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Thailand

Order Issued under Thailand’s 2005 Decree on Administration in Emergency Situations

The ministerial decree among other things bars “reporting or spreading of information regarding COVID-19 which is untrue and may cause public fear, as well as deliberate distortion of information which causes misunderstanding and hence affects peace and order or public morals.” The decree empowers authorities to order journalists and media groups to “correct” reports deemed incorrect, and allows authorities to pursue charges against journalists under the Computer Crimes Act, which allows for five-year prison penalties for violations. The decree also bans all gatherings. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 25 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Tunisia

Arrests for Criticism of Government's COVID Response

Authorities have arrested journalists, bloggers, activists, and others after they criticized the government's response to the pandemic. Individuals who have criticized officials' failure to abide by COVID-19 safety measures, or officials' distribution of pandemic aid, have faced various charges under Tunisia's Penal Code, including “causing noises and disturbances to the public” (Article 316); “insulting a civil servant” (Article 125); and “accusing public officials of crimes related to their jobs without furnishing proof of guilt” (Article 128), among others. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 28 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression
return to map
Turkey

Arrests for Covid-Related Social Media

According to the Interior Minister, the government has arrested more than 400 people for "provocative" posts about the coronavirus outbreak on social media. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 25 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
United Arab Emirates

Council of Ministers Decision Regarding the Publication and Exchange of Health Information Related to Communicable Diseases and Epidemics

The decision prohibits any person from publishing or circulating false or misleading health information that is not officially announced or approved by the Ministry of Health. Violations are subject to a fine of up to $5,500. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 18 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
United Arab Emirates

Action Under the Federal Criminal Law and the Federal Law to Combat Cybercrime

The Attorney General states that UAE security authorities will impose harsh penalties ranging from one to several years in prison for spreading false information about the coronavirus on social media. Individuals will be held accountable according to the articles of the Federal Criminal Law and the Federal Law to Combat Cybercrime.  (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 16 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
United States

Banning Spread of False Information in Puerto Rico

The order by Puerto Rico's governor makes it illegal for media outlets or social media accounts “to transmit or allow the transmission” of “false information with the intention of creating confusion, panic, or public hysteria, with regards to any proclamation or executive order declaring an emergency, disaster or curfew.” (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 6 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Uzbekistan

Amendments to the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedural Code, and Code on Administrative Offenses

The amendments substantially increase liability for violation of medical and quarantine procedures, including criminal liability for distributing "false" information related to quarantine or infectious diseases, with more severe penalties for sharing such information in the media or internet -- up to a $10,000 fine and three years imprisonment. The amendments also introduce administrative fines for failure to use medical masks in public places while in a quarantine regime, amongst other provisions. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: law
Date Introduced: 26 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Vietnam

Fines Issued Under Decree 15/2020/ND-CP regarding Law on Cyber Security

The Government's Department of Information and Communications has fined hundreds of individuals for posting incorrect information about the coronavirus outbreak. The fines are based on the Law on Cyber Security, which prohibits the spread of "fake news," broadly defined to include not only incorrect or misrepresented information, but also slander, insulting a person's "honor and dignity," and "causing confusion." Decree 15/2020/ND-CP, which came into effect on April 15, imposes fines of VND10m to VND20m ($425-$850) for posting or sharing fake news online. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: practice
Date Introduced: 15 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression
return to map
Yemen

Decree 6 of 2020

The decree temporarily suspends production and distribution of paper copies of government and private newspapers, to combat the spread of the coronavirus. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 25 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information
return to map
Zimbabwe

SI No. 83 of 2020 on Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order

The order imposes a national lockdown for 21 days and prohibits all public gatherings of more than 2 people, with very limited exceptions, on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Anyone who violates the lockdown can be punished with a Level 12 fine and one year's imprisonment. A person found further than 5km from his home may be arrested without a warrant and put in detention, isolation, or quarantine. Any person who publishes or communicates “false news” about any official involved with enforcing the national lockdown, or about any private individual with the effect of harming the state’s enforcement of the lockdown, shall be liable to a penalty of up to a Level 14 fine or 20 years in prison or both. (See primary source or citation here)

Type: order
Date Introduced: 30 Mar 2020
Issue(s): Assembly, Disinformation, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information, Movement
return to map
This is an ongoing effort, and we welcome you to email us at epage@icnl.org and simona@ecnl.org to share additional resources.