From state disinformation to censorship and online surveillance, digital rights are one of the most important social issues in the Asia-Pacific region today. A new film collection aims to raise awareness on the importance of protecting digital rights in a time of intensifying security risks and rights violations.
Tech Tales, a collection of eight films that highlight human rights stories in the digital age, launches on Saturday, October 30. The film collection is produced by EngageMedia, a non-profit media, technology, and culture organisation that uses the power of video, the internet, and open technologies to create social and environmental change.
This first-ever public screening of the Tech Tales film collection coincides with the international celebration of World Internet Day, an apt time to turn a critical eye to the current digital rights issues being faced in the Asia-Pacific.
“We are very excited to show to the world, especially audiences in the Asia-Pacific, these eight excellent films. These are finely-crafted films, with stories told in new and compelling ways, that provide a spotlight on issues and problems that confront our digital and actual lives,” said King Catoy, project coordinator for EngageMedia.
Featuring works by noteworthy filmmakers in the region, the eight films in the collection probe into issues such as online surveillance in India, Malaysia and Thailand; data privacy and online gender-based violence in Indonesia; massive disinformation campaigns in Myanmar and the Philippines; online freedom of expression in Cambodia and Malaysia; and digital sovereignty in the entire Asia-Pacific region.
“The films show how interconnected and urgent our digital rights issues are in the region. Tech Tales is a very timely intervention into the alarmingly common assault on our fundamental rights to data privacy, information, free expression, and digital sovereignty by governments, companies and other nefarious forces that seek to dominate and profit off our digital lives,” Catoy added.
The filmmakers that contributed work in Tech Tales are Jackson Brook of Cambodia, Richard Soriano Legaspi of the Philippines, Vijitra Duangdee of Thailand, Annisa Adjam of Indonesia, Yihwen Chen of Malaysia, Varun Kurtkoti of India, Andrew Garton of Australia, and an anonymous filmmaker from Myanmar.
“Our participating filmmakers are among the most exciting and unique in the region. The treatment that they used to tell their stories are varied and necessary. We are very proud of their work,” Catoy said.
After the October 30 launch, the collection will be partially or fully screened only at select community screenings, making this launch the best time to view the whole collection and interact with the films’ directors and fellow digital rights activists around the region.