Majlis Podcast: The Coronavirus As A Means To Strengthen Control

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Around the world, governments are implementing new rules to counter the spread of the coronavirus. In some cases, there are questions as to whether some of these measures are helping governments gain further control over their populations.

In Central Asia, for example, restrictions on movement in towns and cities has left journalists in a situation where special permission is needed to go out and cover stories.

Governments with access to facial recognition and CCTV are expanding the use of this technology to track citizens’ movements.

Social networks are scrutinized for posts about alleged government failures in combating the virus and those responsible for the postings are punished.

On this week’s Majlis podcast, RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion that looks at whether Central Asian governments are taking advantage of the health crisis to firm up their grip on power.

Our guests this week are, from Washington, Erica Marat, associate professor at the National Defense University, and Edward Lemon, assistant professor at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security; and from Prague, Farruh Yusupov, the director of RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service.

I’m on lockdown like so many other people, so I was happy to sit at home, listen to what our guests had to say, and add a word or two of my own.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.