Asia Centre and International IDEA Sign MoU

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On 8 December 2022, Asia Centre and International IDEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU established a formal partnership between the two organisations and facilitated a specific agreement to be partners for Asia Centre’s International Conference on Democracy and Elections in Asia, to be held in Bangkok, 23-25 August 2023. Click here to learn more about the 8th International Conference.

Nalinrat Tingoum, Programme Coordinator of Asia Centre, and Seema Shah, Head of Democracy Assessment Expertise of International IDEA, exchanged the agreement for the two organisations to co-partner for Asia Centre’s 8th International Conference.

The “exchange” took place during the 8 December 2022 Asia Centre and International IDEA closed-door consultation on ‘Digital Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia’. The consultation gathered more than 20 participants from diplomatic missions, UN agencies, INGOs, CSOs and new media experts who track digital authoritarianism in the region. Among the issues discussed were the trend towards segregating the internet, the type of digital attacks authoritarian regimes mount on the internet, the weaponisation of internet-related laws against individuals and CSOs and the increasing surveillance of online activities. 

The consultation members also noted that the issues of digital authoritarianism through the use of internet laws, internet shutdowns, single gateway and state-sponsored disinformation have become more critical in Southeast Asia as the region heads toward elections in 2023 and 2024. One key recommendation was the need to build a coalition of stakeholders from different sectors to devote more effort to keeping the internet as a “free space”. 

Hence, it was noted as timely that both Asia Centre and International IDEA are partnering for the Centre’s 8th International Conference on Democracy and Elections in Asia, 23-25 August 2023. This partnership was seen as the starting of future collaborations and the expansion to include more partners.

One of the activities leading up to the MoU was Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez’s participation in the Democracy in Asia and the Pacific 2023 Outlook Forum held by International IDEA and the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) on 5-6 December 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. In the Forum’s Session 5 ‘Disinformation and Media Integrity’, Dr. Gomez delivered a presentation on the rise of disinformation and its relation to the distrust in media.

The idea to explore collaboration between the two organisations began when Leena Rikkila Tamang, Director of Asia and the Pacific Programme of International IDEA visited Asia Centre on 7 October 2022 to discuss plans for possible joint projects including baseline studies, seminars and partnering on Asia Centre’s 8th International Conference.

International IDEA is Asia Centre’s 2nd title partner to co-convene the 8th International Conference. During the 7th International Conference, Asia Centre signed a co-convening agreement with the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University. Click here to read the write-up of the MoU with Chiang Mai University.

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