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.
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 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to share additional resources.
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)
Introduced 10 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Association, Assembly, Emergency, Surveillance, Press Freedom, Expression, Privacy, Access to Information, Movement, Militarization
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. On October 5, 2020, a journalist who reported on public comments on COVID-19 made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was sentenced to 18 months in prison for incitement. Another journalist has been sentenced for incitement for criticizing the government’s response to COVID-19 on social media.(See primary source or citation here)
Introduced 16 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Disinformation, Expression