As it is known, on March 16 the Government of the Republic of Armenia declared a state of emergency due to the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic. The decision restricted a number of rights, including freedom of speech. The part of the March 19 decision referring to censorship was modified to some extent.
Leaving aside the consequences of the censorship prescribed by the decision (including public confidence in information disseminated by the authorities), the Union of Informed Citizens has decided to study restrictions on freedom of speech in other countries due to the new coronavirus.
Currently, 13 countries have been studied. In most of these countries, decisions on the state of emergency are regulated by orders, decrees, and legal acts.
Of the countries studied, only decrees on the state of emergency adopted by Romania and Honduras include a clause referring to censorship (CPJ, the Committee to Protect Journalists, has also referred to the case of Honduras).
A state of emergency without censorship has been declared in the United States, Italy, Spain, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia and Macedonia.
And in the case of Portugal, the decree specifically mentions the unacceptability of restricting freedom of speech during a state of emergency.
The list of countries studied as of March 20 is given below (with dates and links to the decrees).
- The United States of America – 13/03/2020 https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-declaring-national-emergency-concerning-novel-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak/
- Italy – 31/01/2020
3. Spain – 14/03/2020
4. Kazakhstan – 15/03/2020
5. Bulgaria – 13/03/2020
6. Romania – 16/03/2020
See Art. 54 on censorship
7. Hungary – 11/03/2020
8. Czech Republic – 12/03/2020
9. Slovakia – 16/03/2020
10. Serbia – 15/03/2020
„Službeni glasnik RS“, broj 31/20
11. Portugal – 18/03/2020
See Paragraph 5.2 which emphasizes that the state of emergency cannot affect the freedom of speech.
12. Honduras – 18/03/2020
13. Macedonia – 18/03/2020
The study is ongoing, and the list will be published once we have it in full.
Union of Informed Citizens