Information Policies of the Coronavirus Crisis
It is the first time since World War II that countries on such a broad scale introduced some form of state of emergency and thereby imposed considerable restrictions on fundamental rights. In most EU countries state of emergency rules were not designed to regulate such long-lasting events and surveys show that EU citizens find restrictions of their individual freedoms less and less justified. It is not just a matter of perception, but in fact the restrictions of freedoms of information, expression, assembly and association are also a threat to democracy and rule of law. An enduring restriction of these freedoms weakens democratic discourse, undermines trust in government and thereby puts a strain on democratic political systems. Furthermore, the coronavirus crisis is also a national security matter; many countries consider it as a threat to the life of the nation. As a result, national security approaches and rules pervade civilian law-making and governance, while at the same time civilian governance also receives military aid. The subject of this project is how the underlying information policies of these emergency measures and restrictions address the above risks, as well as their compatibility with European and international human rights and rule of law standards.