Asia Centre Signs MoU with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

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On 20 October 2023, Asia Centre and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their existing cooperation and explore opportunities for future collaboration in media and communications-related activities, research and training developments. The signatories were Dr James Gomez, Regional Director of Asia Centre, and Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. The MoU signing ceremony included an introduction to Asia Centre, and an overview of Asia Centre covering its scope, programme areas, and partners, which were presented by Dr. James Gomez and Dr. Marc Piñol Rovira. Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad…

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Asia Centre & International IDEA: Forecasting Democratic Futures in the Asia-Pacific for 2024

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Asia Centre and The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) co-convened the Democracy in Asia and the Pacific 2024 Outlook Forum in Bangkok, Thailand on 19-20 October 2023. This was the 2nd Outlook Forum organised by International IDEA, and was attended by more than 20 participants from various INGOs and NGOs, academic institutions, as well as researchers and activists. The Forum sought to explore uncertainties and emerging issues, using foresight methodologies, that may impact the future of democracy in the Asia-Pacific. The welcome and opening remarks were delivered by Leena Rikkilä Tamang, Director for Asia and the…

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Covid-19 and the erosion of civic space in Asia: An urgent call for democratic vigilance

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many regimes in Asia were already reluctant to promote civic space, fearing that it might empower democratic forces. The onset of the pandemic brought about a troubling shift in behaviour. Under the guise of preventing virus spread, governments justified curtailing these freedoms, disregarding international standards that stipulate restrictions must have legitimate grounds and must not result in breaches of international law.

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COVID-19 applications infringed Southeast Asians’ right to privacy during and after the pandemic

In the attempts to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control, Southeast Asia governments introduced contact-tracing applications to help manage people’s movement and decrease the risk of infection. Their enforcement however was met with criticism and concerns over state surveillance and infringement on the right to privacy.

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Asia Centre-Radio Taiwan International MOU to Further Media Collaboration 

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On 25 September 2023, Asia Centre and Radio Taiwan International (Rti),  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The aim is to establish a framework to engage in future media collaboration. The signatories were Dr James Gomez, Regional Director of Asia Centre, and Ms Cheryl Lai, Chairperson of Rti. The MoU signing ceremony included short introductions to Asia Centre, its research activities, and the upcoming 9th International Conference. These were presented by Dr. James Gomez, Dr. Marc Piñol Rovira, and Ms Lina Salim, respectively. Mr Carlson Huang, Rti Manager of International Languages, introduced Rti to the attendees. Rti is the only…

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8th International Conference (2023): Democracy and Elections in Asia

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From 23 to 25 August 2023, Asia Centre convened its 8th International Conference on “Democracy and Elections in Asia”. The conference marked a return to fully on-site participation, with over 130 attendees hailing from more than 20 countries. Asia has been buzzing with elections since 2022 with the Presidential Election in the Philippines, South Korea, and Sri Lanka, the Chief Executive Election in Hong Kong, General Elections in Malaysia and Nepal, and Gubernatorial Elections in Japan. 2023 continued with the Presidential Elections in Bangladesh, China, and Singapore, General Elections in Cambodia and Thailand, and State Elections in Malaysia. More elections…

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CMU POL: Thailand’s Democracy Remains in a Quagmire after the 2023 General Election

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Chiang Mai University, a title partner for Asia Centre’s 8th International Conference "Democracy and Elections in Asia" on 23 to 25 August 2023, through its welcome remarks and panel analysed the outcomes of Thailand’s 2023 General Election and whether the polls would actually return the kingdom to democracy.Dean of the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pailin Phujeenaphan, in her welcome remarks, observed that despite the expectation that digital technologies would serve as an accelerator to democratisation -  Thailand’s politics remains in a quagmire.  The same message was delivered on the next day,…

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 Google: Authoritative Information Important for Electoral Integrity

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Google, title partner for Asia Centre’s 8th International Conference "Democracy and Elections in Asia" on 23 to 25 August 2023, through its welcome remarks and panel outlined how the technology company and its partners seek to address some of the negative online influences on election integrity.Vice President of Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Markham Erickson in his welcome remarks on 24 August 2023 said the technology company supports electoral integrity by engaging users to disseminate authoritative information about their elections; protecting online electoral information and combating disinformation; and supporting elections campaigns by managing their digital presence, alongside trainings for…

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International IDEA: Support Needed for Democratic Actors in the Region

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The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), a title partner for Asia Centre’s 8th International Conference on “Democracy and Elections in Asia”, hosted two panels and a demonstration session. During the three-day conference, panel speakers convened by International IDEA emphasised the importance of offering support and fostering solidarity with democratic actors in Asia. This importance was underscored during the opening remark on 23 August by Leena Rikkilä Tamang, International IDEA’s Director for Asia and the Pacific. She emphasised that, given the numerous challenges to democracy posed by electoral manipulation, the importance of solidarity and cooperation among civil…

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