Vague Fake News Laws Lead To Over Criminalisation In South East Asia

Since 2017, ASEAN member states have either introduced new legislation, revised existing laws or are using current regulations to penalise individuals and organisations for disseminating fake news often citing the need to curb hate speech as a primary reason. However, the definition of what is “fake” in the provisions of these legal measures is vague. Furthermore, the government’s central role in defining what is fake news within these laws deepens the problem. A key issue is that once these legislations are in place, it allows individuals and organisations to be accused of transgressing such laws. As most laws on fake…

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IFC #5: Southeast Asia in the Age of Disinformation

On 21 March 2019, Asia Centre and Stenden Thailand co-hosted the fifth International Faculty Club which focused on Southeast Asia in the Age of Disinformation. In Southeast Asia, there are more than 400 million Internet users. Since January 2019, internet penetration is 63% and social media penetration is 61%. These numbers show that people increasingly consume media on digital media and social media platforms, instead of traditional media. As content creation on social media is immediate and not subject to regulations, it can easily be used to spread fake news and disinformation. The IFC gave insight into how disinformation is…

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Asia Centre signs MOU with NSHM Knowledge Campus in Kolkata

Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre and Cecil Anthony, Chief Mentor, NSHM Knowledge Campus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 8 March 2019 in Kolkata, India to further cooperation between the two institutions. The signing took place during NSHM Knowledge Campus’s International Conference on Media and Society on 8 and 9 March 2019. During the Inauguration Session of the event, Dr Gomez said that the MOU can help NHSM Knowledge Campus extend its reach to Southeast Asia.At the International Conference, Asia Centre was the official partner for the Technical Session “Media & Human Rights” on 9…

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Asia Centre seals MOU with Indonesia’s Satya Wacana Christian University

Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, ASIA Centre and Professor Neil Semuel Rupidara, Rector, Satya Wacana Christian University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 5 March 2019 in Semarang, Indonesia. The MOU outlined the area of collaborations that covered research, joint events, trainings and internship. The partnership was signed following the two entities' first joint general studies panel.Entitled “Religion, Media and Politics in Southeast Asia”, the event was organised in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Science and Communications, Faculty of Theology and the Centre for the Study of Religion, Pluralism and Democracy. Attended by 100 students and…

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ASIA Centre inks MOU with Calcutta University

Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre and Professor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee, Vice Chancellor, Calcutta University’s signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 8 February 2019 in Kolkata, India.The MOU signing was part of the Government of West Bengal’s push for its universities to collaborate with knowledge partners abroad.  The event was witnessed by Kolkata’s Chief Minister, Mamata Banarjee during the 5th Bengal Global Business Summit that took place on 7-8 February 2019. For ASIA Centre, the MOU signings form part of the Centre’s strategy to engage externally and build more partnerships globally.Asia Centre will be undertaking more…

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Quality Journalism Not Effective Against Fake News

Quality journalism has been thrown up in discussions that search for measures to combat fake news on social media. Proponents argue that if quality journalism is boosted, the proliferation of fake news and its consumption can be mitigated if not overcome. However, it is unclear if the promotion of quality journalism alone is indeed an effective answer. Emerging evidence suggests that quality journalism boosting is no match to the viral power of fake news over online platforms. In Southeast Asia, there is a trust deficit in traditional journalism or mainstream media in many countries due to government control. Even when…

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Asia Centre engages with Indian Universities and Think-Tanks

Over February to March 2019, Asia Centre will participate in several meetings organised by Indian universities and think-tanks in Kolkata. Kicking-off, Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre will be Calcutta’s University delegate to the Bengal Global Business Summit on 7th and 8th February 2019. The annual flagship event, organized by Government of West Bengal, is positioned as the business gateway to South-East Asia and North-East India. During the occasion, Asia Centre will sign an Memorandum of Understanding with Calcutta University to formalise cooperation between the two entities. A month later, from 8 to 9 March 2019, Tessa…

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ASIA Centre Takes Fake News Discussion to Indonesia

Asia Centre and local partner – Indonesian alumni of Asian Public Intellectuals - co-organised two seminars on fake news or “berita hoax” in Jakarta on 16 and 17 Jan 2019. The seminars are part of a series of activities around fake news Asia Centre will undertake with partners in Indonesia in 2019. On 16 January 2019, the first seminar entitled “Fake News and Freedom of Expression” was hosted by venue partner KineForum at a theaterette at the Tun Ismail Marzuki arts complex. Speakers included, Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez, Dr. Sri Nuryanti, LIPI political researcher and former Election Commissioner (2007-2012),…

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4th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable: Chinese Nationalism

China’s rise and its increasing assertive efforts to re-shape the world order have far-reaching consequences, in particular in Southeast Asia. In the age of information and disinformation, China’s ambitions as a global power must be appreciated critically, inclusive of the fact that Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are means to an end - removing China’s sense of being ‘encircled’ by its global competitors, namely the United States and its allies. To dissect China’s foreign policy and its impact on the region, Asia Centre held its 4th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable entitled “Chinese Nationalism and Its…

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Asia Centre on The SDGs, Climate Change and Human Rights: The Indonesian Palm Oil Industry

As states seek to address climate change resilience following the Paris Agreement by committing to ‘foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development’, they appear to be willing in so far as such measures do threaten food production” (SDG Indicator 13.2.1). An analysis of the palm oil industry in Indonesia exposes a potential rights conundrum amidst the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Asia Centre’s Dr. Robin Ramcharan dissected this apparent conundrum in relation to the Palm Oil industry in Indonesia in a lecture to the Leuven Center for Global Governance in Belgium on 20 December 2018. The palm oil…

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