Asia Centre and Oxfam Announce 2021-22 Journalism Award Finalists

Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021-22 Journalism For an Equitable Asia Award.The Award recognises the work of journalists who wrote on the threat of inequality to the lives and livelihoods of disadvantaged groups including women, ethnic, religious and gender minorities, and migrant and informal workers.The Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award aims to not only recognize these journalists, but also to encourage more journalists to write for a fairer Asia.  Here are the finalists: Miss Meg Adonis is a 25-year-old writer in the Philippines. She was a journalist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer,…

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Business and Human Rights: More Stakeholder Participation Needed in Southeast Asia

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While welcoming the uptake of the BHR agenda across Southeast Asia, panelists in the online forum: ‘Business and Human Rights in Southeast Asia: Progress Towards Developing National Action Plans’(NAPs) emphasised gaps in advocacy on business and human rights across the region. Collectively they noted the need for more stakeholder participation from parliamentarians, business organisations and other non-governmental organisations in NAPs development processes. The event, co-convened by Asia Centre and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, was held on 15 December 2021, 10.00 AM - 4.00 PM Bangkok Time, to mark the launch of the joint publication: ‘Business and Human Rights…

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COVID-19 Disportionately Impacts Women’s Rights

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Commissioners from different human rights bodies highlighted that during the pandemic, women disportionately faced various challenges. Despite the operational difficulties, the various commissions nevertheless have tried their level best to call out these COVID-19 related rights violations. Officiated by Frederic Spohr, Head of Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Thailand and Myanmar, these and other issues were highlighted during the International Human Rights Day Roundtable Discussion 'Impacts of COVID-19 on Human Rights' on 9 December 2021.The discussion was part of Asia Centre’s ongoing work on National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Southeast Asia. It held its 2nd International Conference on ‘National Human…

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Asia Centre Pens Agreement With Naresuan University

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On 26 November 2021, Dr. Robin Ramcharan, Executive Director, Asia Centre and Dr. Napisa Waitoolkiat, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Naresuan University, Thailand signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to establish a framework of future cooperation.The MOA marked the collaboration between the organisation in a two-part event on ‘Strengthening the Milk Tea Alliance: Building Democracy and Freedom through Speakers and Discussion’ supported by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The first, was held on 26 November 2021 at the Topland Hotel in Phitsanulok, Thailand and the second, on 1 December 2021 at Asia Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. James…

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Media Spotlight Can Help Address Vaccine Inequality

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Vaccine inequality is a growing concern in Asia, where the biggest challenge in keeping the pandemic at bay is the vaccination rates of a country. Hence, verified information on vaccine’s efficacy, and the equity of vaccine provision and distribution is important in putting a spotlight on the underlying inequalities that affect efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.This concern was the main theme of the webinar: “Vaccine Inequality and Worsening Inequalities in Asia” co-convened by Oxfam International and Asia Centre on 24 November 2021, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM. The event was part of Oxfam International and Asia Centre’s efforts to…

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Anti-Discrimination Laws Needed To Protect Minorities

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Anti-discrimination laws and independent commissions are needed to protect minorities disadvantaged by legal measures that are claimed to be enacted to maintain social harmony. This was a major recommendation arising from the discussion during Asia Centre’s launch of its new baseline study “Harmony Laws in Southeast Asia: Majority Dominance, Minority Repression”The study, in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), was released during an online event on 22 November 2021 as part of the 7th annual Southeast Asian Freedom of Religious Belief (SEAFORB) Conference. The report reviews how “harmony” and other laws in Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Singapore have…

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Malaysian Journalists Influence Media Ethics But Need Support

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In the absence of a progressive legal framework to establish a Media Council and a complimentary Code of Ethics, the actions of journalists as influencers and their adherence to ethical standards and values are what drives quality journalism in Malaysia. While their role is admirable, their impact remains low and needs to be backed up by other stakeholders.These were the key perspectives that emerged on 12 October 2021, during the webinar ‘Media Ethics and Journalism in Malaysia’ co-convened by Asia Centre, in collaboration with the School of Media and Communication of Taylor's University. The event, supported by the Taiwan Foundation…

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Workshop on Tackling Disinformation

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Asia Centre, in collaboration with the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF),  convened a two-day workshop on 25 September and 2 October 2021. These workshops,  moderated by Mr. Celito Arlegue, Executive Director of CALD, is a follow-up to Asia Centre and CALD’s baseline study, ‘Defending Freedom of Expression: Fake News Laws in East and Southeast Asia’ published in February 2021.On the first day, the main focus was on legal ways to address disinformation and how to mitigate the threats such legislation poses to freedom of expression. Hence, the participants considered the…

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6th International Conference (2021): COVID-19 in Asia: Communication, Nationalism and Technology

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From 8 to 10 September 2021, Asia Centre convened its 6th International Conference on COVID-19 in Asia: Communication, Nationalism and Technology. Due to the ongoing travel and health advisories at the time, the conference was convened as an online event with participants using teleconferencing software to join from different locations and across international time zones.Into its 6th year, Asia Centre’s annual conference continued to grow, with 17 partners who convened 15 panels. The Centre facilitated the presentations of 51 speakers of which 57% were male and 43% were female. The Conference examined a variety of impacts the pandemic has had…

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Data Protection Can Ease Fear in Cambodia

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Data protection is needed in Cambodia to address self-censorship arising from the monitoring and persecution of online users. This was the key theme that emerged during the online launch of Asia Centre’s baseline study: “Internet Freedoms in Cambodia: A Gateway to Control” on 1 September 2021. In his opening remarks, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Vitit Muntarbhorn stated that the government needs to comply with  international human rights standards. Given decreasing internet freedoms in Cambodia, he recommended that data protection and access to information be instituted to enable people to express their opinion without fear.Dr.…

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