positive court ruling

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

On 29th August 2020, hundreds of people demonstrated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest pandemic safety measures which they say infringe on their personal rights. Read more

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

Multiple Journalists Arrested Throughout COVID-19 Lockdown Period

At least six journalists arrested in the first two weeks of April 2020 for allegedly violating measures put in place by the government during the COVID-19 lockdown; as Rwanda approached its review by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), concerns mounted over a disconnect between law and practice even as the country was credited for undertaking extensive media reforms since its previous UPR review; The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) rules in favour of two Rwandan journalists, Agnès Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibib, who had been charged and sentenced for the publication of various articles in 2010, which criticised President Paul Kagame Read more

Multiple Journalists Arrested Throughout COVID-19 Lockdown Period

Massive protests against COVID-19 measures; journalists’ safety compromised during protests

Protests against the measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Germany have continued and attracted increasingly more supporters from extremist groups, often turning violent. The protesters seem to represent only a small fraction of the German population, as opinion polls show strong public support for the government’s COVID-19 measures. Similar to previous demonstrations, these protest were supported by a wide range of interest groups, including left- and right-wing extremists, neo-Nazis, Pegida, anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. Participants failed to respect social distancing rules which resulted in police dispersing the march. Several arrests were also made and several journalists report they were verbally or physically attacked.

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Massive protests against COVID-19 measures; journalists’ safety compromised during protests

Authorities embark on major crackdown on expression amid COVID-19 and ahead of elections

Opposition members power-through as elections approach; and HRDs stifled by overly stringent laws, raids and prosecution; Targeting of LGBTIQ+ community continues; Journalists, critics face backlash for reporting and speaking out about COVID-19 measures in the country; Journalists, media outlets and artists targeted for criticising president, politicians Read more

Authorities embark on major crackdown on expression amid COVID-19 and ahead of elections

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

In July and August 2020, protests against police brutality and systemic racism that began after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued across the country, often with violent clashes between militarised police and protesters. Read more

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide

Even as coronavirus cases increased in Brazil, President Bolsonaro and government authorities encouraged and attended pro-government demonstrations between April and July 2020. In many cases, protests by government supporters turned anti-democratic, with signs calling for a military coup, the closure of the National Congress and the dissolution of the Federal Supreme Court. Read more

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide

Protests over government plans to withdraw from Istanbul Convention

There have been recent debates about Turkey’s withdrawal from what is commonly known as İstanbul Convention, formally the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. Experts say that this decision is related to Turkey’s “inability to accept gender equality”. This news comes at a time when Turkey faces even more violence against women due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Namely, digital violence as a form of harassment against women has become more present. The government’s intention to withdraw from the Convention has sparked protests, which saw a number of protesters being detained. In a separate development, lawyers protested a proposed bill that would "split bar associations" and silence critical institutions. Despite protests, parliament has passed the contested law. In addition, parliament also passed the social media bill which aims to further stifle freedom of expression on social media in Turkey.
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Protests over government plans to withdraw from Istanbul Convention

Catalan independence leaders targeted by spyware; calls to revise ‘Gag Law’ on five-year anniversary

Catalan independence campaigners are suspected to have been targeted by government services using spyware, which is allegedly only sold to governments for the purpose of surveilling criminals and terrorists. However the Spanish government has denied all allegations. On the five- year anniversary of the controversial Citizen Safety Law, more popularly known as the “Gag Law”, NGOs called for the revision of the law which has been criticised for impeding freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The law has been used during the lockdown to record a number of fines against citizens. In a concerning development, during the pandemic media professionals have criticised the Spanish government for filtering questions during telematic appearances, leaving many journalists' questions unanswered. Journalists also continued to face attacks from far-right groups, including the Fox party.


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Catalan independence leaders targeted by spyware; calls to revise ‘Gag Law’ on five-year anniversary

Violent attacks against three Indigenous communities of Costa Rica

In July 2020, violent attacks against the Bribri, Maleku and Brörán Indigenous communities continued to escalate. On 24th July 2020, Indigenous leader José Enrique Ortíz was attacked by land invaders in Salitre. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Violent attacks against three Indigenous communities of Costa Rica

Regional ECOWAS Court of Justice rules that 2017 internet shutdowns violated freedom of expression

On 25th June 2020, the Community Court of Justice of the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), ruled that the shutdowns of the internet in Togo in the context of opposition protests in September 2017 were illegal, and violated freedom of expression. Read more  |  Read in French

Regional ECOWAS Court of Justice rules that 2017 internet shutdowns violated freedom of expression