Justin Sherman

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 8-25-2020


The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of accurate, real-time information and empirical data in a rapidly evolving crisis. Yet it has also captured an opposite issue: the spread of misinformation and disinformation during a public health crisis. Numerous governments have used the Covid-19 pandemic as reason to, legitimately or illegitimately, heighten existing state censorship practices or introduce new practices entirely under the justification of stopping false information about the virus. This report analyzes developments in China, India, and Russia as case studies of government censorship amid the public health crisis. It offers five key takeaways from these case studies. And finally, it argues that the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated and exacerbated the fragmentation of the global information space and state crackdowns on free online speech, underscoring the need for strong United States leadership in promoting and defending a global, free, and open internet.