October 6, 2020

Civil liberties in times of corona

LOCKDOWN DEBATE: In the past six months, citizens have had their right to protest quashed, their free speech attacked (with restrictions on social media about alternative public-health messages) and their ability to ‘mingle’ made illegal. In any other situation, this would be unthinkable. Does living under a virus mean having to sacrifice our civil liberties? Is it right to push back on the idea that anyone who questions new restrictions is a ‘covidiot’ or even unsympathetic to the seriousness of the virus? Should we be worried about the effects of asking citizens to ‘snitch’ on each other in an already atomised and isolated public sphere? And does the government’s rush to implement ever-tighter rules on social interaction set a dangerous precedent - especially if dealing with pandemics becomes part of the ‘new normal’? Silkie Carlo, Luke Gittos, Patrick O’Flynn, Ruth Smeeth and Claire Fox discuss.

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