Report: Restricting Journalists During Covid- 19 Pandemic
STOCKHOLM - Skyline International Foundation states that the Middle East and North Africa regimes have exploited the Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic to further restricting the media, public freedoms and journalists.
In its report, Skyline states that the pandemic has caught all the attention of mainstream media, leaving very little space to cover other major events and conflicts taking place in the world, especially in the MENA region
The report points out that the current situation gave some regimes and individuals the opportunity to continue their harassment campaigns against journalists and bloggers without the attention these abuses usually bring. For instance, the mysterious death of a young Egyptian video editor, Shady Habash, who was never formally accused of any wrongdoing, almost past unnoticed, despite the fact he spent more than two years in an Egyptian jailed; often incommunicado.
Skyline affirms that many countries are preparing to fight a second wave of the virus, the lack of cooperation and collaboration among states in the MENA region is likely to make thing much worse. Thus, under such conditions it is important to support and aid freelancers, activists, journalists, agents and editors who are working on the ground to adopt the most effective protocols in the process of covering the Pandemic
Skyline further states that the lack of freedom, and new surveillance technologies in addition to economic stagnation is causing a deficit in the credibility and sustainability of reporters and journalists in the region.
"The current pandemic has become a smokescreen, where the truth can be easily manipulated, and rules can be easily bent. It is a challenging time in all aspects, political, social, and economical, and now more than ever, journalists, academics, and activists are exposed to considerable risks and dangers". Skyline said.
This report clearly shows that there has been minimal advancement in promoting and spreading the freedom of expression in the region. On the contrary, the situation has become worse since the Arab spring started in 2011.
Skyline International emphasizes that it is essential to focus on exposing the legislation used by current regimes to enhance state repression and to publish more articles raising awareness about this issue to the general public. The public also should be informed about the current situation of journalists and other professionals on the ground and about their needs and expectations as journalists and professionals.