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We Say: The virus is the threat, not people

The UN Human Rights Office has warned of “toxic lockdown culture” in a number of countries, with UN Secretary General António Guterres reminding governments that the threat was the “virus, not people.”

States of emergency have been declared in many Pacific island nations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with measures including curfews, border closures, internal travel restrictions and compulsory quarantine and self-isolation periods. For the most part, quick and decisive actions from our governments has borne fruit; many Pacific island nations have been spared from local COVID cases for now, and in others, the spread has been quickly contained . They should be congratulated for that.

However some of these government-mandated measures have been challenged (with varying results), for example in courts in Guam, French Polynesia and Fiji.

Meanwhile, there have been challenges to the notions of media freedom in several jurisdictions.

To scrutinise, question  and unpack government policies, and the rationale behind them, is the job of the media. They’re not acting this way because they are evil, but because the ability to question, debate and understand is integral to a healthily functioning society.

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