It is a sad day for government, freedom of speech, democracy and Denmark.
The reason is that the Danish Parliament today passed a new emergency law (L 157), which allows websites to be closed and to impose fines and imprisonment on persons who communicate information about COVID-19 that do not comply with the official announcements from the authorities.
Here is a link to the entire bill passed.
Higher penalties are the first step. Next comes political pressure on the police to catch and on the court to convict. The doubling of the sentences for corona-related utterances is in itself a political signal that it is particularly criminal, so special attention must be paid to it.
My conclusion is that freedom of speech in relation to corona is now effectively removed. You are now at risk of being imprisoned for up to 8 months if you utter anything that does not match the official statements of the National Board of Health, the Danish Serum Institute, the Police, the Minister of Health or the Prime Minister.
At a press conference on March 23, the Danish government aired the possibility of a regional travel ban over Easter to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
There is no indication right now that such a travel ban is being introduced, the Minister of Transport says, but now the Ministry of Transport and the government have been legally allowed to close both the Great Belt Bridge and the Little Belt Bridge.
Earlier in March, an emergency law was passed, the purpose of which is to contain coronavirus.
At that time, the government suggested that police could enter private homes without a court order if there was suspected coronary infection. It was subsequently also changed, so that a judgment order is required.
If the government chooses to take advantage of the new restrictions, it will not be just at the push of a button.
One of the big bargains in the negotiations over the past few days has been whether the government should be able to ban assemblies of less than ten people – and even down to three people – without asking others for advice.