A day after the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet expressed alarm at the clampdown on freedom of expression in parts of the Asia-Pacific, including India, during the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s mission to the UN in Geneva joined hands with other Asian countries to respond to her on Friday.
In a report on Thursday, Bachelet had said that “in India, several journalists, and at least one doctor, have been charged for their public criticism of the authorities’ response to the Covid-19. In Mumbai, police passed an order prohibiting “any person inciting mistrust towards government functionaries and their actions taken in order to prevent spread of the Covid- 19 virus and thereby causing danger to human health or safety or a disturbance to the public tranquillity”.
The Permanent Mission of India to the UN in Geneva, along with missions from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, said that their governments had taken “necessary measures to hold those who spread misinformation and mislead the public accountable for their irresponsible actions”. “The spread of harmful misinformation and falsehoods… represents a clear and present danger to public health,” the joint statement said.
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