Inequality Sharpens During Pandemic

Inequality sharpened during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among vulnerable communities in Asia. This was the principal theme in the stories of the 10 finalists which they shared during the 2020-21 Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award. You can watch the event here.  Top 10 journalists from Asia, whose articles made it to the final round, wrote how the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic affected workers in the informal sector. Already struggling under normal times, factory workers, home-based workers, sex workers, street vendors, transport workers—many of whom are women—suffered job losses and income deprivation leading to hardships.  Already leading precarious…

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Getting To The Other Side of the Myanmar Coup

Asia Centre’s webinar, “Law and Lawlessness: Myanmar Coup and Human Rights” on 11 March 2021 discussed the 1 February 2021 Myanmar military coup. The event attracted over 88 participants and gathered over 1,000 views during its live-streaming  (watch here). The one and a half hours discussion centred on strategies of “getting to the other side” -  that is, end the protracted violence. Thereafter, assuming the military gives in and is cooperative, initiate an inclusive political process to draft a new constitution. This whole process of “getting to the other side” might take 10 to 15 years, if not longer. Asia…

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Asia Centre and Oxfam Announce 2020-21 Journalism Award Finalists

Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2020-21 Journalism For an Equitable Asia Award.As thought leaders and creators, journalists have the skills and voice to expose social issues of the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia such as inequality, poverty and dysfunctional governance.Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award, co-hosted by  Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia aims to recognize them and encourage more journalists to write for a fairer Asia.  Here are the finalists:Umar Bacha is a young journalist from Shangla, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. Currently associated with Dawn media group as a…

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Asia Centre Connects with Human Rights in Ubon Ratchathani

Asia Centre Connects with Human Rights in Ubon Ratchathani
Dr. Titipol Phakdeewanich

On 5 March 2021, Asia Centre’s Drs. James Gomez and Robin Ramcharan participated in “The Official Launch of the Regional Center for Human Rights Study and Coordination” at the Faculty of Political Science, Ubon Ratchathani University. During the event, Drs. Gomez and Ramcharan, who are also the editors, presented Asia Centre’s publication “National Human Rights Institutions in Southeast Asia: Selected Case Studies“ to the Center's founding Director, Dr. Titipol Phakdeewanich.At the sidelines of the event, Drs. Gomez and Ramcharan met with Mrs. Prakairattana Thontiravong, Commissioner Act on behalf of the Chairperson and expressed interest of partnership with the Commission and its…

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Asia Centre & CALD: Freedom of Expression Needs Defending

With internet shutdowns, throttling of internet server speeds, geo-blocking of social media posts, persecution of social media users, attacks against journalists and media organisations and outright censorship, freedom of expression in the region is in need of defending.This was the response of the reactors and participants to the contents of the report "Defending Freedom of Expression: Fake News Laws in East and Southeast Asia" released by Asia Centre and the Council of Asia Liberal and Democrats with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation on 25 February 2021.About 100 people registered for the report launch. 65 attended the online event…

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Defending Freedom of Expression

Download Full Report AbstractDefending Freedom of Expression: Fake News Laws in East and Southeast Asia published by Asia Centre and the Council of Asia Liberals and Democrats (CALD) examines the existing and recently enacted laws and policies in the region which govern disinformation. The aim of the report is to provide a policy tool of ideas to empower legislators, political party leaders, academics, civil society activists, journalists to protect freedom of expression. This report compares the impact of legislation in countries with multiparty legislatures and independent government institutions, and countries with one dominant political force and an absence of independent…

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Myanmar Coup and Internet Shutdowns

Download Asia Centre’s Briefing Note, Myanmar Coup and Internet Shutdowns, tracks the period 1 February to 31 March 2021. The Note provides a timeline of the shutdowns, reactions from protestors, technology companies and the international community, legal analysis of key laws and Myanmar’s international obligations. Over the course of the coup, it records a shift in tactics by the military junta from internet content censorship to infrastructure control. Asia Centre will continue to track developments related to internet freedoms in Myanmar and Southeast Asia.  

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5th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable: COVID-19 and Vaccine Nationalism

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Rich countries have placed orders, received consignments and have begun inoculating their citizens, however, the reality of needing to inoculate foreign residents in their midst makes vaccination nationalism irrelevant. This was the general view emerging from Asia Centre’s webinar on 20 January 2021 entitled “COVID-19 and Vaccine Nationalism”. Asia Centre, in partnership with the Thai Media Fund and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, convened its 5th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable in remembrance of the late professor’s work on nationalism.The event was attended by 64 online participants with 798 Facebook Live views during the session. The session brought together academics, activists and…

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Civil Society Empowerment must be at the Centre of COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

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On 9 December 2020, Asia Centre released its baseline study “COVID-19 and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Building Resilience, Fighting Authoritarianism”. This report examines the state of democracy and human rights in the region, from 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2020, and the accelerated regression thereof due to COVID-19.  The report was presented by Dr. James Gomez, Regional Director of Asia Centre. Following the unveiling,  key themes of the report were discussed by Dr. Rebecca (Bec) Strating, Executive Director, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University; Dr. Kristina Kironska, Researcher, Palacky University of Olomouc; Celito Arlegue, Executive Director, Council of Asian…

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COVID-19 and Democracy in Southeast Asia

Download Full Report ABSTRACT COVID-19 and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Building Resilience, Fighting Authoritarianism examines trends under which Southeast Asian governments have used crises as opportunities for their political advantage. This report, centred around the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), highlights the routine response from governments with the announcement of emergency decrees and laws, suspension of civil freedoms, corruption of electoral democracy, censorship, digital surveillance measures, and framing human rights activists as national security threats. Post- crises, governments then enact long term laws and policies that effectively shrink civic space. Their methods also include limiting media and journalists’ watchdog activities through…

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