Human Rights Day 2021: Reducing inequalities, advancing rights in the digital age

Appa and His Invisible Mundu
A still from “Appa and His Invisible Mundu,” one of the short films in the Tech Tales film collection. Here, Appa is depicted struggling to escape social media surveillance.

In celebration of Human Rights Day, EngageMedia is launching two research reports: one mapping the digital rights landscape in Indonesia; and one investigating artificial intelligence (AI) governance in Southeast Asia.

And for a limited time, we are making Tech Tales, our Asia-Pacific digital rights film collection, available to watch online.

Digital Rights in Indonesia

The use of digital technologies is rapidly growing in Indonesia, and online spaces have become vital to the majority of citizens. But while these technologies offer opportunities to exercise free speech and participate in a democratic society, authoritarian controls and corporate entrenchment are threatening Indonesia’s civic spaces online.

  • Our new report, Digital Rights Report Indonesia 2021, explores the key digital rights issues, policies, and civil society actors and networks in the country. What are the milestones and challenges of the digital rights movement? How can advocacy initiatives be made more effective? Read the full report, available in Bahasa Indonesia and English.
  • On December 1, we launched the report with a panel discussion among researchers in Indonesia’s digital rights space. The event featured an engaging discussion on the report’s key findings, with insights from Diani Citra, EngageMedia research consultant; Ika Krismantari, deputy executive editor of The Conversation Indonesia; Wahyudi Djafar, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy; and Fiona Suwana, lecturer from the University of South Australia. Read more about the launch here.

Artificial Intelligence

From smart devices to personalised recommendations, AI use is growing fast in Southeast Asia. But this also raises new questions: How do we set rules for the use of AI to protect people from its potential harms?

  • EngageMedia’s new report explores the issue of AI governance – what it means for Southeast Asia, ways forward for policymaking and advocacy, and civil society’s role in protecting against AI harms. Read the full report, Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Southeast Asia.
  • Got two minutes? Learn about the challenges and opportunities of AI governance in Southeast Asia in this video.

Tech Tales

All eight Tech Tales films will be available for a special limited screening on Cinemata from December 10 to 18. Check out the playlist here.

Tech Tales: Films about Digital Rights in the Asia-Pacific highlights human rights stories in the digital age. The eight thought-provoking films highlight stories of action and resistance as ordinary citizens, activists, and human rights defenders continue to grapple with state surveillance, censorship, online-gender based violence, and other pressing digital rights issues – making the protection of digital rights more urgent than ever.


Human Rights Day is an opportunity to remind everyone that digital rights are human rights: Everyone deserves to equally enjoy the benefits of technology and protection from its harms. Not everyone has been impacted by technology in empowering ways. We hope that the research reports launched today, as well as the Tech Tales film collection, encourages people to reflect on issues of digital equality and inclusion. And may such reflection lead to more awareness, advocacy, and impact on digital rights issues.

2 thoughts on “Human Rights Day 2021: Reducing inequalities, advancing rights in the digital age”

  1. Pingback: Limited screening: Tech Tales films streaming on Cinemata for Human Rights Day celebration - EngageMedia

  2. Pingback: Video: Challenges and Opportunities for AI Governance in Southeast Asia - EngageMedia

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