Asia Centre’s New Research Hub

Asia Centre will consolidate its research work under a new Hub, as the team expands to publish more books, baseline studies, policy papers, and opinion pieces. Part of this work will involve making submissions to the UN, following the granting, in 2021, the UN’s ECOSOC Special Consultative Status. The Research Hub, housed in a 131 sqm office on the 20th floor of the Chamnan Phenjati Business Center, and located 200m away from Rama 9 MRT Station, has a mixture of open working spaces and meeting rooms. Fitted with the latest video-conferencing technology, the Hub will enable the Asia Centre Team…

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 Ukraine Challenges Do Not Damper ASEAN-EU Relations

The ongoing war in Ukraine has accelerated several key challenges to the ASEAN-European Union (EU) relationship. These challenges include the EU’s unclear role in mediating the great power relationship in the wider Indo-Pacific region, a difference in approach towards regional integration, trade negotiations hampered by the political contexts of ASEAN states, and non-aligned over human rights issues that prevented the deepening of relationships. Despite these challenges, there is a desire within both regions to work towards maintaining and strengthening this strategic partnership. This was the primary sentiment that emerged from the conference “ASEAN-EU Relations in light of the War in Ukraine”, co-convened…

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Thailand’s Computer Crime Act: Placing Digital Rights At Risk

Increased internet use by Thai citizens for political expression and mobilisation gave rise to the implementation in 2007 and the later amendment in 2017 of the Computer Crime Act (CCA). In the name of national security and public order, the Act has been used to prosecute internet users placing their digital rights at risk.Asia Centre’s Researcher Korbkusol Neelapaichit made these opening remarks during the report launch of “Thailand’s Computer Crime Act: Restricting Digital Rights, Silencing Online Critic”, jointly published with EngageMedia and supported by The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL). Korbukusol then went on to highlight the key concerns…

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Dr. Gomez in Doha: “Harmony laws” foster hate against minorities

“Harmony laws”, while well-intentioned, their implementation has inevitably led to the spread of hate speech directed at minorities in Southeast Asia. This is primarily due to the use of these laws against ethnic-religious minorities and those seen as a threat to the majority group.  This was the finding that Asia Centre’s Regional Director, Dr.James Gomez, highlighted in his keynote speech delivered at the 14th Doha Interfaith Conference titled “Religion and Hate Speech: Between Scriptures and Practice” which took place on 24-25 May 2022 in Doha, Qatar. His speech, based on his conference paper, titled “Legislating Hate Speech in Southeast Asia: Impacts…

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Electoral Reforms Can Ensure Multiparty Democracy In Southeast Asia

A range of electoral reforms are needed if multiparty democracy is to take root in Southeast Asia. Reforms related to electoral laws, the media, independence of election management boards and the voting age formed the broad suite of ideas that emerged from speakers of the parallel session “Multiparty Democracy in Southeast Asia” during the 2022 Gwangju Democracy Forum convened by Asia Centre.Co-convened with the May 18 Foundation – a South Korean organisation founded in commemoration of the May 18 Uprising – the 19 May 2022 online event was as part of the Gwangju Democracy Forum, an annual international conference held…

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Asia Centre’s Steps Up its Engagement in Geneva

Giving effect to its 5-year strategic plan to 2027, to step up its engagement with UN human rights mechanisms and international organisations, Asia Centre undertook an outreach mission to Geneva, Switzerland during April 2022.This mission stems from the Centre’s continuous growth over the past seven years which has seen it achieve the following:Recognition as a research institute in the regional and Thai landscape on democracy, rights and geopolitical issues,Establishment of a branch in Malaysia,Production of seminal, policy-oriented knowledge products on democracy and human rights in the region,Building networks across the region on critical issues (business and human rights, freedom of…

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Disinformation Winner of 2022 Philippines Presidential Election

Disinformation, and lots over it over social media, was the predicted winner of the 2022 Philippines Presidential Elections. This was the sentiment of speakers and respondents as well as the results of 2 online polls on 3 May 2022 during an event to commemorate World Press Freedom Day. Entitled, “2022 Philippines Presidential Election: Fake Accounts, Bots, and Trolls”, Asia Centre, in collaboration with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Southeast and East Asia convened a roundtable discussion to assess the impact of social media on mainstream media and election campaigning. (Watch the TikTok here, the event video here,  and see…

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Strengthening Quality Journalism to Fight Online Disinformation

As the majority of news production and consumption shifts to social media so has government control. “Media Freedom in Southeast Asia: Repeal Restrictive Laws, Strengthen Quality Journalism,” outlines how fake news legislation is used to silence media organisations and journalists who produce and disseminate critical content online.Launched by Asia Centre and the Friedrich Naumann’s Foundation on 15 March 2022, the report recommends that governments focus on strengthening media organisations rather than silencing them. Through these efforts journalists can counterbalance online disinformation through verified information and quality journalism. Tech companies can help by not feeding hate and using algorithms to spread…

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Asia Centre and Indonesian Parliament’s Expert Agency Sign MoU

On 14 March 2022, Asia Centre and The Expertise Agency of The House of Representatives of The Republic of Indonesia signed a 5 year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Through the MoU, both organisations pledges to jointly undertake the publishing of research outputs, execute teaching and training programmes, develop course outlines and materials, and support each other to promote joint activities. Built off of a few years of engagement between the two organisations, the MoU formalises the path for future collaborations and joint projects. The Expertise Agency first participated in Asia Centre’s 3rd International Conference on Businesses in Human Rights in…

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Continued Unemployment Furthers Inequality

The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the world into further unemployment and inequality. Reporting under the theme, ‘Inequality - Threat to Lives and Livelihoods,’ the journalists discussed how disadvantaged communities such as women, ethnic groups, religious and gender minorities, migrant and informal workers found themselves languishing in unemployment as a result of the pandemic. The journalists' articles were shared during the 2021-22 Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award. Watch the event here.  The top 10 finalists from Asia wrote about how COVID-19 impacted the lives and livelihoods of disadvantaged groups. These groups included minorities such as women, ethnic, gender…

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