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Tags: surveillance, wearables, monitoring tools, privacy Electronic tagging has always been controversial. Today it is being touted in the name of health security.
The Philippines is facing another crackdown on media freedoms. [caption id="attachment_26326" align="alignleft" width="237"] Maria Ressa. Photo: Lev Radin/Shutterstock[/caption] On June 15, 2020, a court in the capital Manila, convicted former CNN journalist Maria Ressa and former Rappler writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. of cyber libel for publishing an article that implicated a prominent businessman who was allegedly involved in human trafficking and drug smuggling.
Ownership of mobile phones, especially smartphones, is spreading rapidly across the globe. Yet, there are still many people in emerging economies who do not own a mobile phone, or who share one with others. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2019 mobile divides were most pronounced in Venezuela, India, and the Philippines, countries where three-in-ten adults do not own a mobile phone.

At a time when the world is rightly focused on the coronavirus pandemic and its long-term consequences, under-reported news includes how far down...

It’s a familiar story. Toe the government line – any government – and survive. Criticize the government, or its cronies, or policies that benefit the few rather than the majority, and risk censure or worse. Investigative journalism examines questions of public interest: crime and corruption, certainly, but also deceit and failure. Fair and balanced coverage of issues that impact ordinary people distinguishes good journalism from bad journalism, genuine news from fake news.
With the onset of the current pandemic, things are bound to get a lot more challenging for many migrants and refugees, as well as for the societies that host them. The number of forcibly displaced people worldwide was already the highest it had been in decades even before the global coronavirus crisis. In 2016,  about 40 million people became internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 22.5 million,  refugees.  Most migrants are extremely vulnerable both to the health and socio-economic effects of COVID-19. They are constantly on the move, work in the service economy, and have limited access to public services. Women migrants are particularly affected.  We have read  stories of hundreds of Venezuelan migrants violating the government-imposed quarantine in Colombia by trying to return to Venezuela at all costs, where they hope to at least they access the country’s precarious health system and look after their families. Most had been working in Colombia’s informal economy and, after the lockdown, were unable to earn a living. 
The World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), suggests that the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism. The 2020 edition of the Index, which evaluates the situation for journalists in 180 countries and territories, identifies five converging crises: geopolitical (due to the aggressiveness of authoritarian regimes); technological (due to a lack of democratic guarantees); democratic (due to polarisation and repressive policies); trust (due to aggravated suspicion of the media); and economic (impoverishing quality journalism). These are currently compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A key issue arising from responses to the Covid-19 pandemic is surveillance. Once governments have established ways of tracking and monitoring individuals in the name of national health security, they may become very difficult to undo.
Even faced with COVID-19, despotic regimes will stop at nothing. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has expressed its concern at some Middle Eastern governments taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase state censorship and to clamp down on the dissemination of news and information.