“The public health crisis provides authoritarian governments with an opportunity to implement the notorious ‘shock doctrine’ – to take advantage of the fact that politics are on hold, the public is stunned and protests are out of the question, in order to impose measures that would be impossible in normal times,” Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
The report cites data collected by Freedom House, which shows that, at a minimum, 26 countries have enacted or introduced laws and government rules restricting online media and journalistic access in the name of controlling “fake news.”
Filed on April 13th in Price County Wisconsin Circuit Court, the lawsuit claims that the TV ad spliced together two video clips from separate campaign events to make it appear as if the president has said the phrase “The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.”
The officials, who wished to remain anonymous, told Reuters that documented exchanges between health officials about “the scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions” have been removed from public record and placed in a “high-security meeting room” at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
“These suits will likely fail in court but in the meantime they’ll gratify Trump’s base, distract the press and public, and deter speech and journalism that are vital to our democracy. That's presumably the point," Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University Jameel Jaffer said on Twitter.
The eight-page complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that two essays falsely accused his campaign of conspiring with foreign governments to interfere with the 2016 election.
Filed in New York's Supreme Court, the suit alleges that the newspaper knowingly published false information about his campaign's ties to Russia. He is represented by lawyer Charles J. Harder, who is known for successfully defending Hulk Hogan against Gawker Media.
The lawyers argued in a motion on Friday that the suit cannot go forward because the statements were made in Washington and the case was filed in New York.