Digital Media and Democratic Space in Asia

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

  • 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.
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