Romania has a very COVID-related mortality rate (when compared to the population) and the main cause seems to be the low vaccination rate:

The country is paying the price for having the European Union’s second-lowest vaccination rate, reporting 561 fatalities in the past 24 hours. That brings the toll to more than 42,000. New infections, at almost 19,000 since Monday, also reached a new high.

As a consequence, the head of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU) is asking for stronger measures against COVID-related fake news:

(..) with all the right to free speech would cut off the microphone of everyone who comes and misinforms and tells people not to get vaccinated

The implementation details of "cutting off the microphone" are not provided, but I can imagine creating a law that limits the freedom of speech so that anti-vaccination or COVID-denial is against the law. That would be very similar to laws that prohibit hate speech.

The justification would be rather simple in this case, since promoting anti-vaccination is tightly linked to a significant death toll (both direct as reported COVID cases and indirect due to the medical system being overwhelmed).

As a side note, Turkmenistan has banned the use of the word 'Coronavirus'.

  • @TheSimpliFire Ref. to "Hungary and Czech Republic" as examples. Can you please provide a reference? I cannot find anything in English related to this or maybe I do not know how to search?
    – Alexei
    Oct 21, 2021 at 15:53
  • Look at the table here and sort by Deaths/1M people. As verification of the numbers, a governmental source is listed in the Updates section when you click on a specific country's information. NB the numbers are not the same as Johns Hopkins' data due to counting differences but the differences are very minor. Oct 21, 2021 at 15:56
  • @TheSimpliFire Actually, for the new deaths, Romania is #1 when compared to the population. However, I am interested in the freedom of speech limitation when it comes to anti-vaccination speech.
    – Alexei
    Oct 21, 2021 at 15:59
  • 2
    There is a very similar but somewhat broader related question: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/69369/…
    – Hulk
    Oct 21, 2021 at 16:06
  • 1
    Banning of certain things in authoritarian government sometimes doesn't involve an actual law that clearly states this term or this type of speech is forbidden. But they clearly practice such censorship. Does answers that demonstrate the behavior, instead of a law, suit your need?
    – Faito Dayo
    Oct 26, 2021 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of any countries that have banned COVID-denial or anti-vaccination speech in those explicit terms. The closest I'm aware of is Plateau State in Nigeria; the governor, Simon Lalong, gave a press conference in January '21 in which he announced that the state's executive council had made a decision to "criminalise further denial of the disease in the state".

Another decent example, at country level, is in Botswana, where section 30(3) of the Emergency Powers Act 2020 criminalises relaying "any information to the public about COVID-19 from a source other than the Director of Health Services, and the WHO", while section 31(3) reads:

A person who publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person about —

  • (a) COVID-19;
  • (b) COVID-19 infection status of any person; or
  • (c) any measure taken by the Government to address COVID-19,
    commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P100 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.

However, plenty of countries have implemented laws or decrees that outlaw this speech using broader terms - relying on more vague definitions of "fake-news" or "misinformation" regarding the pandemic.

For example, in March 2020, Bolivia enacted a decree including a provision (Article 13 ii) which stated that "people who incite breaches of this Supreme Decree or misinform or generate uncertainty to the population will be subject to criminal charges for the commission of crimes against public health."

Mentioned in the comments, Hungary's amendment to the criminal code which imposes a sentence of up to three years imprisonment for individuals who "claim or spread a falsehood or claim or spread a distorted truth in relation to the emergency in a way that is suitable for alarming or agitating a large group of people" is still in place (§ 337).

Romania has used article 54 of the decree issued in March 2020 to block access to websites that promote "fake-news as to the evolution of COVID 19 and to the protection and preventive measures."

South Africa's amendment to the 2002 Disaster Management Act creates an offence (§11;5a) of publishing "any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person about COVID-19", punishable with up to 6 months in prison and a fine.


An example of indirect prosecution of anti-vaccination speech has just happened in Romania where a high official of the Orthodox Church said the vaccines are expired and people should not get vaccinated (original in Romanian):

(..) the Călugăreni police station notified ex officio in the case of Bishop Ambrozie from Giurgiu, who said in a sermon this week that the vaccines would be "expired" and urged people not to go to vaccination.

The criminal case is open for the crime of "communication of false information".

So, while there is no direct anti "COVID-denial" or "COVID anti-vaccination" law, there is currently a broader law related to "communication of false information" which might encompass spreading fake news about COVID and/or vaccination.

Related answer.

  • 1
    This is not an answer to your own question. Please edit your question if you think this will strengthen it. I've flagged this post.
    – r13
    Oct 23, 2021 at 12:31

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