The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has been “alarmed” by restrictions on the press and independent journalists imposed in several countries, a breeding ground for a “hostile environment” towards the media.
“Some countries have used the outbreak of the new corona virus as an excuse to restrict information and suppress dissent,” said Bachelet in a statement in which he did not indicate a specific country.
The head of the human rights department emphasized that the existence of free media “is always important, but has never been as important as during this pandemic” because “many people are isolated and fear for their health and lifestyle”. “Credible and accurate information is a lifesaver for all of us,” he riveted.
Bachelet stressed that “this is not the time to blame the messenger” and urged the authorities to allow a “healthy debate” about the pandemic and its aftermath, which in some way opens the door for citizens to participate in decisions “that affect their lives”.