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

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Asia Centre will convene the 5th Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable entitled, ‘COVID-19 & Vaccine Nationalism’. The event, held in partnership with the Thai Media Fund, will take place next year on January 20, 2021 at 2 PM - 3.30 PM (Bangkok, Thailand, GMT+7).This event will review the implications of pre-purchase agreements being made between governments and vaccine manufacturers to secure and prioritise a country’s needs before others. In particular, it will examine how high demand for a COVID-19 vaccine, now commonly known as ‘vaccine nationalism’, will affect Asia.Since 2016, Asia Centre has convened 4 memorial roundtables to examine the work…

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5th International Conference (2020): Hate Speech in Asia: Challenges and Solutions

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From 7 to 9 October 2020, Asia Centre convened its fifth International Conference on Hate Speech in Asia: Challenges and Solutions. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 travel and health advisories, this conference was convened as a hybrid event with participants joining in-person as well as teleconferencing from locations worldwide. The Law Faculty of Thammasat University was the location for the first day of the conference. Thereafter, starting that evening, panels were hosted in Asia Centre’s office and online.Into its 5th year, Asia Centre’s annual conference continued to grow from the previous year in spite of the pandemic. There were 18…

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Hate Speech Solutions Require Multi-Stakeholder Approach

Hate speech in Southeast Asia has evolved into new forms and requires a multi-stakeholder approach for finding sustainable solutions. Civil society, governments and technology companies need to work together to address the issue.This was the general consensus that emerged when Asia Centre launched its report, Hate Speech in Southeast Asia: New Forms, Old Rules, via webinar on July 22nd. Some 200 people registered to attend the event via Zoom which was also live streamed over Facebook and shared widely.Dr Robin Ramcharan, Asia Centre’s Executive Director presented the report. He noted, that “apart from those based on race and religion, new…

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Asia Centre and Oxfam Announce Journalism Award Finalists

Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2019 Journalism For An Equitable Asia Award.As thought leaders and creators, journalists have the skills and voice to expose social issues of inequality to build the public’s understanding and support for equality, #humanrights, and #sustainability. Many journalists across Asia fight the injustice of #inequality and poverty. 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:Aidila Razak is Special Reports Editor at Malaysiakini, where she explores…

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Hate Speech Echoes Government Speak

Hate speech in society towards vulnerable communities often reflects the discriminatory and prejudicial language by government officials and political leaders. In Southeast Asia, the spike in hate speech against migrant workers, refugees, undocumented workers, ethnic minorities and the homeless can be attributed to this trend. This was the analysis offered by speakers at Asia Centre’s webinar on COVID-19 and Vulnerable Communities on 24 June 2020. (watch it here)  The webinar attended by over 114 attendees of 380 registrants, offered a thorough discussion on hate speech arising from government and political speak. The event follows an earlier webinar on COVID-19 and…

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Hate Speech: Measures Shouldn’t Infringe Rights

Legal and non-legal measures to regulate hate speech should not infringe on freedom of expression. This was the cautionary advice arising from speakers and participants at Asia Centre’s first webinar that discussed the impact of COVID-19 crisis on hate speech in Asia. Over 215 attendees from a total of 395 registrants took part in the proceedings (See link to video). The webinar was the first of two on hate speech convened with the support of the Thai Media Fund. A second webinar, “COVID-19 and Vulnerable Communities”, is scheduled for 24 June 2020 which will discuss COVID-19’s impact on vulnerable and…

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Asia Centre resumes operations, strengthens online capacity

IntroductionAsia Centre has resumed office operations and has taken steps to strengthen its online capacity. The Centre is re-starting activities following a requisite COVID-19 postponement of some events and 10 weeks of remote working. Selected postponed activities will now move online, while the Centre enhances its online meeting capabilities and presence over social media. Postponed ActivitiesThe Centre’s first response to the COVID-19 pandemic began when it announced on 16 March 2020 that in-person activities will be postponed. These included halting the Melbourne Outreach planned for 23-27 March 2020 that consisted of meetings and lectures as well as two half-day seminars…

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Asia Centre Builds Momentum for Malaysia Branch

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Since 2016, Asia Centre’s has undertaken a series of Malaysia-related activities to build momentum for a new branch in Johor Bahru. To date the activities include discussions on Malaysia’s political transition, co-convening events on fake news, engagement with Malaysian media and exploratory partnership meetings with institutions based in Malaysia. Collectively these efforts form the basis upon which Asia Centre Malaysia, first publicly announced in 2018, will build its programme of activities moving forward. Asia Centre began discussing Malaysia’s political transition as early as May 2016, when the Centre hosted Professor William Case, a well-known Malaysian studies scholar, who shared his analysis…

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Asia Centre’s Dr. Gomez Awarded 2020 Taiwan Fellowship

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Asia Centre’s Regional Director, Dr. James Gomez has been awarded Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), 2020 Fellowship, to undertake research on disinformation operations, fake news and hate speech in Southeast Asia.  Known as the Taiwan Fellowship, it is awarded to foreign scholars and experts who plan to undertake part of their research at Taiwanese universities or academic institutions. The 2020 Taiwan Fellowship is the third in three years for Dr. Gomez. In 2019, Dr. Gomez received a Sumitomo Foundation Grant and in 2018 he was awarded the Korea Democracy Foundation Research Fellowship both times to undertake research on fake news…

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Strengthening Relationships with Taiwanese Institutions, Think-Tanks and Universities

In December 2019, Asia Centre Directors Drs. James Gomez, Robin Ramcharan, and Partnership Coordinator, Charlotte Yuchun Tseng participated in a series of events and meetings in Taiwan to strengthen relationships with Taiwanese institutions, think-thanks and universities in both Taipei and Kaohsiung. Starting in Taipei with the SEASIA biennial conference from 5-7 December at Academic Sinica, Drs. Gomez and Ramcharan presented their joint paper, “The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR): Normative and Institutional Pathways towards an Enhanced Protection Role” during the panel on Human Rights in Southeast Asia. On the sidelines of the SEASIA conference, Asia Centre’s Dr. Gomez,…

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