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May 28 2020

South Africa Sentences Journalist to Prison Because Coronavirus

Small wonder that authoritarians love COVID-19 so much that they employed the Flatten the Curve strategy to keep it going as long as possible. The virus — or rather the hysteria it has allowed the media to generate — is a carte blanche for those who want to expand the growth, scope, and power of the State. South Africa demonstrates how it can be used to lock up pesky journalists:

The editor of the Mohokare News community newspaper in Ficksburg [South Africa], a town on the border with Lesotho, Paul Nthoba fled across the border into this small enclaved nation on 19 May, four days after being repeatedly assaulted by Ficksburg police in connection with his coverage of a lockdown enforcement operation.

Nthoba was initially punched and kicked by police while covering the operation in a Ficksburg township on 15 May. He told [Reporters Without Borders] that he went to Ficksburg police station the same day to file a complaint, but was punched and kicked again and was detained for several hours.

He reported this to the watchdog Independent Police Investigative Directorate. Bad move. He thought they would protect him…

Instead, he was charged with violating lockdown regulations and is facing up to six months in prison under the Disaster Management Act, as amended in April to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Per Bing’s COVID-19 tracker, South Africa’s death toll stands at a trivial 397 out of a population of 58 million. That comes to one death for every 146,000 people — 1,000 times as rare as Africans who are born with six fingers on a hand (one in 143).

But it doesn’t matter if coronavirus is a serious threat. Once the herd has been spooked, anything goes.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki will love this:

The emergency measures [South Africa] has adopted include the possibility of up to six months in prison for disseminating “false information” about the epidemic.

The tactic of imprisoning reporters for violating quarantine won’t be as useful in the USA, where virtually all journalists worship Big Government like a god, and do whatever they can to grow and empower it.

On a tip from ABC of the ANC.

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