Internet Freedoms in Cambodia: A Gateway to Control

Download full report Internet Freedoms in Cambodia: A Gateway to Control analyses the state of internet freedoms in Cambodia, in light of recent legislation such as the 2021 National Internet Gateway Sub-Decree (NIG). Cambodia is a state-party to major international covenants and conventions, and declares it respects human rights. Yet its national laws are not aligned to international human rights standards. Instead, the government exerts tight control over all online content, and uses anti-defamation or state security provisions to stifle criticisms against it. Vaguely-worded legislation also allows intrusive monitoring of individuals, such as recording their private conversations and using it…

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The Securitisation of COVID-19 Health Protocols: Policing the Vulnerable, Infringing their Rights

Download full report The Securitisation of COVID-19 Health Protocols: Policing the Vulnerable, Infringing their Rights analyses the impact of securitised COVID-19 health protocols on the human rights of vulnerable communities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka. The report reviews the COVID-19 temporary and emergency legislations, the role of the law enforcement agencies in implementing these legal measures, and the digital surveillance and contact tracing measures used to track people’s movements. The review shows that all these actions have impacted the human rights of vulnerable and marginalised communities. The report hence highlights the importance of integrating international human rights…

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“Infodemic” and SDGs: Internet Freedoms in Southeast Asia

Download full report “Infodemic” and SDGs: Internet Freedoms in Southeast Asia, evaluates the impact of the ‘infodemic’ on internet freedoms in Southeast Asia. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as an indicator, the study analyses how the pandemic has exerted a debilitating effect on the development of internet infrastructure, fundamental freedoms and access to information as articulated in SDG 9.C (Access and Affordability of Internet) and SDG 16.10 (Fundamental Freedoms and Access to Information). The report further highlights that a suite of existing legislation and emergency measures—used by governments to silence their critics, rather than repress the infodemic—have served to regress…

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Timor-Leste: Internet Freedoms Under Threat

Download full report Timor-Leste: Internet Freedoms Under Threat analyses the state of internet freedoms against the background of emerging national legislation pertaining to online content and privacy of data. With the rise in internet and social media usage, the scrutiny of government figures on digital platforms has resulted in a push for legislation aimed at cracking down on criticism, and allowing for surveillance and interception of online content. The collection of personal data in a move to digitalise public administration and the economy, furthers the risk of online surveillance of critics. This report examines the potential regression in online political…

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Myanmar: Dismantling Dissent Crackdowns on Internet Freedoms

Download Full Report Myanmar: Dismantling Dissent - Crackdowns on Internet Freedoms examines the state of internet freedoms in Myanmar. Since the military coup on 1 February 2021, any semblance of true freedom of expression online has drastically deteriorated. It is a sharp decline from the  increased user growth and adoption of social media platforms for political expression. This report examines a range of national laws that have been used to impact internet freedoms, namely the Constitution, Penal Code, Electronic Transactions Law, Telecommunications Law, and Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens in the last 10 years. To ensure the…

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Waging War Against COVID-19

Download Waging War Against COVID-19: The Securitisation of the Health Response in Five Asian Countries, evaluates the various health responses enacted by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka. This briefing note categories the health responses as blended civil, securitised or militarised. Such an approach shows that authorities in the region, tackling the COVID-19 situation, primarily approach it as public security rather than a public health threat. This briefing note is a prelude to the full report The Securitisation of COVID-19 Health Protocols: Policing the Vulnerable, Infringing their Rights.

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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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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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Hate Speech in Southeast Asia

Download Full Report ABSTRACT Hate speech, often disseminated online, is increasingly a problem in Southeast Asia with consequences of violence and communal strife. As a result, several countries in Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand have introduced or are revising bills aimed at securing social, racial or religious harmony. Non-legal measures to foster social cohesion, interfaith dialogues and social harmony activities have also been used to address hate speech and promote cross-communal understandings. A majority of states in Southeast Asia have also signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to…

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