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Club Online Zoom Event – Press Freedom in the Pandemic: Are Governments Using COVID-19 to Quash Dissent?

Date: 6 May 2020 12:30 PM | Venue:

Press Freedom in the Pandemic: Are Governments Using
COVID-19 to Quash Dissent?

Maria Ressa
CEO, Executive Director,
Mohammed Hanif
Journalist, author
Hélène Franchineau
Independent Video Journalist
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
12:30pm on Zoom

Lockdowns and emergency measures have been a key tool in the global fight against coronavirus. But are these measures also coming at a cost to press and basic freedoms? The United Nations Human Rights Office last week said disturbing details have emerged from dozens of countries about a “toxic lockdown culture” and called on governments to refrain from using the COVID-19 crisis “as a pretext for repressive measures” to quash dissent, control the population or even perpetuate their time in power.
In this online panel, journalists based in the Philippines, Pakistan and Turkey discuss how lockdowns are affecting their countries’ political environment and impacting the way journalists can freely carry out their jobs.
Maria Ressa: Maria Ressa is the CEO and Executive Editor of She has been honoured around the world for her work in fighting disinformation, “fake news” and attempts to silence the free press. In 2018, she was named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” and won the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-INFRA), among others. She has been a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years.
Hélène Franchineau: Hélène Franchineau is an independent visual journalist based in Istanbul, covering Turkey and the region for media organisations and NGOs. Hélène used to be a video journalist for the Associated Press based in Beijing, and a multimedia journalist for the South China Morning Post based in Hong Kong.
Mohammed Hanif: Mohammed Hanif was born in Pakistan and lived for many years in the UK before returning to Karachi, where he now resides. After leaving the Pakistan Air Force Academy to pursue a journalism career, he worked for the BBC, the Washington Post and many other publications. He has penned plays for the stage and the screen, and the acclaimed BBC drama What Now, Now That We Are Dead? He has won many literary prizes, and his works have been translated into 22 languages.



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