Guterres also pointed to how some governments have used the public health emergency as an excuse to mount brutal crackdowns. He wrote: “By using the epidemic as an excuse, authorities in some countries have deployed strict security responses and emergency measures to crush dissent, criminalize basic freedoms, silence independent reporting, and restrict the activities of NGOs.” A year into the outbreak, there is a growing body of evidence to support what the UN leader described as “shrinking” “civic space”. Human Rights Watch has documented at least 83 governments around the world that have used the epidemic “to justify violating the exercise of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly … and among the victims are journalists, activists, health care workers, opposition political groups, and others who have criticized the government’s response to the Coronavirus.” The Committee to Protect Journalists found that in 2020, a record number of journalists were imprisoned globally, some of whom were writing about the pandemic, and the pandemic was partly to blame. “The book has helped uncover facts and counter the lies in ways that have shaped the global public health response,” PEN America noted in its Freedom to Write Index report released on Wednesday. “At the same time, the state of emergency provided a cover for crackdowns against human rights and the expansion of the government’s authority over speech and expression.” The story still stands at the bottom of the announcement, and these crackdowns have occurred on nearly every continent: “In Uganda, novelist and journalist Kakuenza Rokirabachaiga was arrested and tortured in April, on charges allegedly related to COVID but apparently motivated by the authorities’ discontent with his writings. ” , The report indicated. “In China, police officers used the pretext of a“ Coronavirus Prevention Examination ”to find and arrest article writer and activist Xu Zhiyong at the home of his lawyer, and put poet Li Bifeng in“ forced quarantine ”as a form of detention. The health law “related to the Coronavirus in November as a pretext to raid the headquarters of the San Isidro artistic movement, and to arrest more than ten members of the movement.” This is the second year the organization has organized what it describes as a “census” of writers detained around the world. The pandemic has deepened the plight of those who have watched them, with many writers and dissident voices infected with the Coronavirus in prison. In June 2020, Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehhi may have died of coronavirus-related complications. “The book highlights the ways in which these governments have failed to adequately respond to the crisis,” said Summer Lopez, senior director of freedom of expression programs at PEN America. “The book tries to give insight into how things are different, which is why we’ve seen so many people being targeted.” China led the organization’s ranking of imprisoned writers with 81. These include at least 33 other artists, academics and cultures. Figures in Xinjiang, the far western region that has been the site of the government’s sweeping crackdown on ethnic minorities, including the Uyghurs. “This number may be just the tip of the iceberg,” Karen Karlekar, lead author of the PEN America report, told Today’s WorldView, noting the difficulty of accurate reporting in the region, where millions of people are alleged to have stormed concentration camps in recent years. “It is such an information black hole.” The story continues beneath the ad. Karlikar also warned of the deteriorating situation in India, bordering China, the site of “constant attacks on journalists, harassment of dissidents, left-wing intellectuals and people speaking in favor of minority rights.” . “ India was the only recognized democracy in the top ten countries ranked by PEN America for its role in locking up intellectuals and public dissidents, while Belarus, which had no documented case in 2019, rose to the 18th place in 2020 – a reflection of the many role shared. Authors, celebrities and academics in the weeks of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko last year, as Myanmar had eight cases documented in 2020, including members of a satirical poetry band known as the Peacock Generation. But these numbers do not reflect those arrested in the aftermath of the February 1 coup. Which was launched by the military in the country, which has issued arrest warrants for many outspoken writers and celebrities. “The situation in Myanmar was not really good, but we expect Belarus to be in 2021,” Karlikar said.