Live Blog

Digital Media and Democratic Space in Asia

Maria Ressa live blogs the Expert Meeting on Translating Online Activism into Offline Action in Bangkok, Thailand

  • This is a small meeting of two experts from each country. It begins at 8:40am Bangkok time (9:40am MNL time) with presentations of Country Studies & Practices from Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand.
  • That will be followed by Singapore and Malaysia at 11am; South Korea & the Philippines at 1:10 pm. Afternoon will be a discussion of patters & practices.
  • There are about 30 of us here - about 2 to 3 from each country. It's just about to start. Doors are closing.
  • People settling down.

  • Small room, intimate setting - but formal too because there are so many cultures and perspectives represented here.
  • First speaker is Marcus Michaelsen on Pakistan.
  • From Online Activism to Offline Action: Digital Media and Democratic Space in Asia -- Pakistan is first.
  • Pakistan has 20m internet users, pop more than 180m. Not great internet penetration.
  • 2 obstacles in Pakistan: internet infrastructure and education.
  • 108m using mobile phones in Pakistan. Telecoms is deregulated, allowing competition in internet services, but legislative framework ill-defined.
  • Participants in online debates in Pakistan belong to small, info-educated elite, most from middle class. - Michaelsen
  • Pakistan's media landscape is still in the process of professionalization after state restrictions lifted abt a decade ago - Michaelsen
  • 2010 floods in Pakistan: bloggers organized for relief operations - distributing supplies to flood victims - Michaelsen
  • These mobilizations are short-term in nature. Question is how to use for long-term sustainable involvement in civic activism?
  • Next speaker is Shazhad Achmad from Pakistan.
  • Shahzad Ahmad

  • Ahmad's site - Bytes for all, Pakistan - www.bytesforall.pk - a human rights organization since 2009
  • Major issues: censorship & surveillance; implementing "kill switch"; blasphemy laws; religious extremism curbing freedom of expression online
  • Issues: privacy rights - databases without legal protection; digital security of journalists & human rights defenders
  • Impt policy spaces: national policy processes; Internet Governance Forum; UN Human Rights Council; EU Parliament - Shahzad Ahmad
  • Ongoing campaigns: Take Back the Tech; Encryption ban; Kill switch on communications; protecting journalists - Shahzad Ahmad
  • Emphasizes collaboration with human rights and media development organizations.
  • Trying to build regional network for freedom & expression online. This doesn't exist right now. - Ahmad
  • Indonesia next: Yanuar Nugroho & Sofie Shinta Syarief
  • Policy & regulatory framework: Telecommunication Law; Electronic Information & Transaction Law; Freedom of Information Law
  • Zooms in on the 3 as most important and possible dangers as written.
  • Prita Mulyasari as case study: housewife prosecuted under defamation for sending complaint against a hospital via email
  • Who are the participants in the alternative public spheres? - Nugroho
  • Talking about how Twitter was used to get food to refugees from Merapi eruption.
  • Change doesn't seem to happen on the surface, but society is changing. Pak Nugroho talks about Indonesian reflections.
  • Enda Nasution from Indonesia is speaking next.
  • Yanuar Nugroho

  • Indonesia: 40-45m internet users, 100m users by 2016, 42m FB accounts
  • Social networks now replaced email in Indonesia - Nasution
  • Enda Nasution is from salingsilang.com - it means cross path or hub.
  • Enda Nasution from salingsilang

  • Nasution gives case study of how government put in place controls to block pornography. Movement against it lost momentum.
  • Program is called IDBlokir.
  • "Social media is fast. Social change is slow." Nasution
  • Thailand is next. Isriya Paireepairit speaks next.
  • Isriya Paireepairit

  • Free Space of Expressions: New Media & Thailand's Politics - most controversial topic revolves around monarchy.
  • Jokes about facing up to 15 years in jail - don't say anything about royal family "since you are in the Thai kingdom."
  • Computer Crime Act of 2007 - problem: content censorship; est 80,000-400,000 blocked sites; most abt "Lesse Majeste"
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