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Coronavirus containment depends on human rights: freedom of expression and press are needed to fight pandemic

Ellery Altshuler (University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

ISSN: 2056-4902

Article publication date: 6 November 2020

Issue publication date: 22 July 2021




The purpose of this paper is to describe restrictions on freedoms of expression and press that have arisen during the coronavirus pandemic and to show the public health impact of these restrictions.


General PubMed and Google searches were used to review human rights violations both historically and during the current coronavirus pandemic. Special attention was paid to publications produced by groups dedicated to monitoring human rights abuses.


During the coronavirus pandemic, many governments have used the guise of controlling the virus to silence critics and stifle the press. Though these restrictions were supposedly orchestrated to fight the virus, they have done just the opposite: suppression of expression and press has hindered public health efforts and exacerbated the spread of the virus. By reducing case reporting, allowing for the spread of misinformation and blocking productive debate, violations of human rights to free expression and press have worsened the coronavirus outbreak.


This study shows the ways in which human rights are both threatened and particularly important in crises.



Altshuler, E. (2021), "Coronavirus containment depends on human rights: freedom of expression and press are needed to fight pandemic", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 270-278.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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