Journalists Threatened and Detained as Countries on Multiple Continents Restrict Coronavirus Coverage

When a flu-like virus tore through the world, killing tens of millions and infecting far more, the papers in Europe told readers of “Spanish flu.” King Alfonso XIII of Spain was one of many stricken, they reported in 1918. What they didn’t say was that their own populations were being decimated, too.

It was the largest pandemic in modern history, but due to wartime censorship in many European countries, few citizens would know it at first. Only Spain, a nation neutral in the fight, allowed its press to work largely uncensored, and so it was that stories of the contagion spread too.


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