Legislation is being introduced across Southeast Asia to combat fake news in the name of preserving social harmony. In practice, however, it is too often used by long-sitting regimes as a tool to discredit political opponents ahead of critical events such as elections and referendums. As a result, democratic values like freedom of expression and press freedom are directly impacted by legal retaliation to what governments call “fake news” written by their critics.
Read Dr James Gomez’s interiew World Press Freedom Day 3rd May 2019 here.
Governments across Asia, namely in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, and India, are considering ways to tackle the problem of disinformation on social media, particularly as they gear up for crucial elections in 2019.
Read Asia Centre’s mention in the article as Dr Gomez focuses on how in Malaysia, an anti-fake news bill was passed in April 2018, before the general election which was designed to “shape and manipulate online discussion in favour of Najib Razak’s government during the election period.
Read the article here.
In March 2019 Dr. James Gomez spoke to the Philippine news agency as moderator the panel discussion on the role of journalists in the context of information disorder and digital literacy at the ASEAN Workshop for Addressing Fake News. However, Dr Gomez also said over criminalization” or excessive laws and regulations and vaguely-worded legislation result in legal battles between government officials and individuals or other stakeholders.
Read about the discussion here.
In February 8 2019, Dr. James Gomez was quoted in the LA times. James Gomez said “Government officials in Southeast Asia are focusing on social media commentary that causes “reputation harm” to themselves and their institutions, Unlike in the U.S., where Trump is attacking to do reputation damage to the fact-based traditional media,” he said, “in Asia, government representatives are focused on discrediting critics.”
Read the full article here:
Dr. James Gomez spoke to the ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) from Tokyo on Friday, 28 September on the Rohingya issue after the Canadian parliament voted to strip Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship.
Watch the video here.