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.

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 and to share additional resources.

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Introduction Date



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.

قانون رقم 20-06 بشأن تعديل قانون العقوبات

تشدد التعديلات عقوبة السجن بتهمة التشهير، وتستحدث عقوبات جديدة تشمل السجن لنشر معلومات كاذبة. بموجب التعديلات، يواجه مرتكب الأفعال المجرمة عقوبة السجن لمدة تتراوح بين سنة وثلاث سنوات. بالإضافة إلى ذلك، تشدد العقوبات إذا وقعت الجريمة "في وقت يخضع لقيود تتعلق بالصحة العامة أو عند حدوث كارثة طبيعية أو بيولوجية أو تكنولوجية أو أي شكل آخر من الكوارث"، ويُعاقب الذين يرتكبون هذه الجرائم للمرة الأولى بالسجن لمدة تصل إلى خمس سنوات.

النوع: قانون

تاريخ النفاذ: 29 أبريل 2020

(See primary source or citation here)

Introduced 29 Apr 2020

Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression

Type: law

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Ban on Public Gatherings

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune banned all protests, marches, demonstrations, and other mass gatherings, due to the coronavirus epidemic. His order also closes all public spaces suspected of being a hub for the virus.

(See primary source or citation here)

Introduced 17 Mar 2020

Issue(s): Assembly

Type: order

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Crackdown on Opposition Activism during Pandemic

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Algerian government has arrested at least one prominent journalist, has lengthened the sentence of another on charges of "affronting national unity" and "affronting the morale of the army," and has issued summons for dozens of activists. Many of the summons and arrests are related to activists' posts on social media. According to critics, the government's actions amount to a crackdown on dissent, at a time when protests and marches remain prohibited on account of the virus. Although courts suspended some proceedings, they continued to process cases against anti-government activists. Additionally, while authorities granted amnesty to a number of prisoners to reduce prison population density and combat the spread of COVID-19, opposition activists were excluded from the amnesty. 

(See primary source or citation here)

Introduced 23 Apr 2020

Issue(s): Discrimination, Press Freedom, Expression, Access to Information

Type: practice

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This is an ongoing effort, and we welcome you to email us at and to share additional resources.