COVID-19: Advocacy calls and resources

We have grave concerns about the effects of emergency measures taken by governments in the fight against COVID-19 on the ability of independent media and journalists to do their job and the ensuing effects on people’s access to information.

We have seen arrests, attacks and intimidation of journalists reporting on the virus in their country or asking critical questions about the handling of the virus by their respective governments.

Measures criminalising the spread of fake/false information or panic about the virus are also of grave concern. While we understand the need to fight disinformation at this time, we fear for censorship of critical voices and essential information.

We believe journalism should be identified as a vital sector to create an enabling environment for journalists to take on their crucial role at this time to provide reliable information to the public. This is vital to address this health crisis. Journalists can ensure the voices and concerns of citizens are heard and media can play a critical role in educating the public on the virus.

Advocacy calls

Over the past few weeks, we have joined several advocacy calls and campaigns in which we express our concern and urge governments to refrain from (further) restricting press freedom. We have been in regular contact with policymakers at the Dutch, European and international level to share the above concerns and call for the recognition of journalism as a vital profession.

Here is an overview of the letters and statements we joined related to COVID-19 (link opens a new tab):


Access to reliable information is vital to address this health crisis together. We encourage you to call on your own governments to refrain from restricting press freedom, and instead recognise journalism as a vital profession at this time.

Here are some resources that might offer some support in shaping your advocacy message (link opens a new tab):

Get in touch

We’d love to hear from you about developments in your country, positive or negative, which we might be able to bring to the international level. Also, we would like to know if there’s anything we can do to support you in your advocacy efforts. Please get in touch with our Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer Evelien Wijkstra ( or join the Advocacy group on the knowledge sharing platform for partners of Free Press Unlimited.