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DRAPAC23 Assembly Day 1 Public Sessions

The DRAPAC23 Assembly from May 22 to 26, 2023, will feature over 120 co-created sessions spread out across five days in the city of Chiang Mai, covering a variety of topics that are grounded in the digital rights landscape and realities in the Asia-Pacific. The panel discussions, workshops, and roundtables will tackle topics such as artificial intelligence, disinformation, big tech accountability, engaging stakeholders on digital rights, digital safety, and more.

Check out the list of breakout sessions open to the public for Day 1, May 22. The panels and talks, roundtables and discussions, workshops, and other sessions below have been shared with the consent of the organisers. 

To join these sessions, register and complete the peer verification process on Only attendees who have been verified will have access to the full DRAPAC23 programme and schedule. For Cinemata Big Screen sessions, check out the film screenings and talkback sessions here.

All times are in UTC+7.


Panels and Talks

Follow the Money: Should we be concerned about our transaction trails?

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 12:15-13:30
Organiser: Alex Linton, Director, OPTF
Speakers: OPTF

Cash isn’t cool. Whether we’re at the supermarket or buying a coffee, our preference is to wave, tap, or insert. These digital transactions leave trails which are enabling a new era of harmful financial surveillance. The Hong Kong protests emphasised cash’s role in protecting activist privacy. But as cash declines in popularity, what options are there in 2023 and beyond? Digital payment strategies which offer more ‘cash-like’ experiences are needed.

Rethinking Digital Rights: A data-centric approach to build rights-based technology

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 12:15-13:30
Organiser: The IO Foundation

  • Jean F. Queralt, Founder and CEO, The IO Foundation
  • Maryam Lee, Strategic Program Manager, The IO Foundation

The challenges faced by citizens in digital spaces cannot be only addressed with traditional means. New realities imply new needs, which require new approaches. The IO Foundation has always regarded technologists as the next generation of rights defenders. and is proposing that a Data-Centric Digital Rights Framework is a method to engage them in a meaningful and effective manner.

Digital Defenders Partnership

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 12:15-13:30
Organiser: Digital Defenders Partnership

  • Farhanah, Digital Defenders Partnership
  • Ellie Glino, Access Now
  • Darika, Security Matters
  • Eni, Task Force KBGO

A digital security helpline is a form of organised approach to providing timely digital and holistic security support to human rights defenders facing threats or blatant attacks in their region. The session dives into the inner workings of running a digital security helpline based on the practices of three organisations that have been in this field for the past years and that operate in their local contexts. Session speakers will talk about the kind of needs and situations they are able to address through the helpline approach, as well as challenges and opportunities faced in the field of rapid response. The session will highlight best practices and available resources that can be of use to small or large organisations who are interested in starting their own digital security helpline.

Adapting global standards to local contexts: Uncovering the policies and practices of digital platforms and telecoms in Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwanf

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 12:15-14:00
Organisers: Digital Asia Hub, Open Culture Foundation, Open Net Korea, and Ranking Digital Rights

  • Prof. K.S. Park, Open Net Korea
  • Rosa Kuo, Open Culture Foundation
  • Gayathry Venkatiswaran, Nottingham University


  • Introduction: Leandro Ucciferri, Ranking Digital Rights
  • Q&A Moderation and Closing Remarks: Nayantara Ranganthan, Persuasion Lab

Digital Asia Hub, Open Culture Foundation, and Open Net Korea, in association with Ranking Digital Rights, are launching three reports, uncovering the policies and practices of the tech companies in Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan. The organisations are part of a pilot initiative that has adapted Ranking Digital Rights’s corporate accountability methodology to the local contexts of these three countries. We will talk about the key findings from the studies and how each organisation approached adapting the methodology to suit their research needs. Catch the authors and Ranking Digital Rights staff discussing the making of and the takeaways from the effort.

Surviving Digital Security Threats During Arrest by Insurgent Arms Group: Real-Life Experiences

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 13:45-15:00
Organiser: ASORCOM
Speaker: MS, Researcher, ASORCOM

This session aims to provide participants with insights into the digital security threats they may face during arrest by insurgent arms groups. Participants will learn about the methods and tactics used by such groups to gather information, intimidate, or carry out attacks, and the potential risks and consequences of digital insecurity in such situations. The session will cover practical strategies for surviving digital security threats during arrest, including prioritising digital security, being cautious with online activities, using secure communication methods, securely storing sensitive information, knowing their rights, and preparing for worst-case scenarios. Real-life experiences and lessons learned will be shared, allowing participants to learn from each other’s experiences and exchange best practices. By the end of the session, participants will be better equipped to understand, mitigate, and survive digital security threats during arrest by insurgent arms groups.

Data Journalism is a Team Sport: Uncovering impactful stories through diverse skill sets and perspectives

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 13:45-15:00
Organiser: Thibi Pte Ltd and Earth Journalism Network

  • Eva Constantaras, Earth Journalism Network (joining virtually)
  • Kannikar Petchkaew, writer, columnist, radio commentator and lecturer in Journalism
  • Pisith Vong, Open Development Cambodia
  • Lu Min Lwin, Thibi

Moderator: Yan Naung Oak, Thibi (in-person)

Over the past decade, data journalism has grown in popularity throughout the world and has become an integral part of investigative journalism and accountability reporting. However, data journalism is still dominated by well-resourced newsrooms, many of which are based in the Global North. Centred around the idea that data journalism is a team sport that requires journalists, data experts, developers, and designers to collaborate to craft impactful stories, our team has been working diligently since 2015 to make data journalism more inclusive and accessible to newsrooms in Southeast Asia. This panel discussion will bring together data journalism trainers, an open data activist, and a former data journalism fellow from our Environmental Data Journalism Academy to explore how different skill sets and diverse perspectives can be used to uncover powerful stories.

Persuasion Lab: The making of political subjects at the hands of the algorithm

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 14:15-15:30
Organiser: Persuasion Lab

  • Manuel Beltrán, Co-founder, Persuasion Lab
  • Nayantara Ranganathan, Co-founder, Persuasion Lab

Through data-driven targeting and algorithmic bidding, Facebook chooses one ad among millions for each person’s eyes. Digital advertising business models not only limit our sense-making to the most ‘optimal’ political ad at each moment and for each person, they also exclude encounters with ads deemed unsuitable for our eyes. This has transformed the quality of information we receive, the solidarities we are able to forge, and the material choices before us. In this talk, we will share our work studying propaganda and influence on digital media.

Twitter: Navigating accountability and transparency post-Musk takeover

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 15:15-16:30
Organiser: Media Matters for Democracy

  • Hija Kamran, Association for Progressive Communications
  • Sadaf Khan, Media Matters for Democracy

The session aims to examine the rise in hate speech on Twitter following billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover. It will explore the future of expression on the platform, the impacts of massive cuts in the workforce on the accountability infrastructure, the discontinuation of transparency reports, and Musk’s claims of declining hate speech on Twitter under his management. Given recent developments regarding “government-funded” labels for news organisations, the dialogue will also touch upon the suitability of Twitter for news outlets and what their withdrawal would mean for the platform.

Fighting Back Against Digital Attacks: Sharing experiences of filing legal cases on digital attacks against independent media and journalists

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 15:15-16:30
Organiser: Digital Defenders Partnership

  • Frank Lloyd Tiongson, National Union of People’s Lawyers
  • Gema Gita Persada, LBH Pers – Indonesia

Moderator: Afra Suci Ramadhon, Digital Defenders Partnership

The growing threat of digital attacks against independent media and journalists has stifled free speech across the region. From the series of DDoS attacks against independent media websites to increasing spyware targeting journalists, independent media have to deal with sophisticated attacks. This session seeks to understand how to build and file a case of digital attacks against independent media; the challenges faced by lawyers and the lessons learned when they handle such cases. The conversation will present representatives from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (Philippines) and LBH Pers (Indonesia). Both organisations will share their experiences and insights supporting the litigation process of digital attacks against independent media and journalists in their countries. While laws are different in each country, participants can benefit from the overview of such a legal process.

One Open-source Fact-check Bot in Two Countries: Co-learning with Cofacts Taiwan and Thailand

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 15:45-17:15
Organiser: National Democratic Institute, Cofacts Taiwan, and Cofacts Thailand

  • Billion Lee, Cofacts Taiwan
  • Pimrapaat Dusadeeisariyakul, Cofacts Thailand

Moderator: Jason Liu, National Democratic Institute

This session is a conversation between two Cofacts teams using the same open-source fact-check platform in Taiwan and Thailand about their strategy and efforts to strengthen information integrity via a LINE Messenger bot. Two speakers will share how civic tech projects help marginalised communities in their own country and their experiences with inclusive design of their civic tech applications. They will also share their experience in community building, which is the key to the success of a civic tech project.

Roundtables and Discussions

Enabling CSOs To Tackle Intolerance And Promote Peace Through Social Media

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 12:15-13:30
Organiser: The Asia Foundation

  • Aynul Islam, Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Dhaka, and National Moderator of SAVE Youth Bangladesh
  • Ujjwal Prajapati, Project Manager at the Center for Media Research- Nepal
  • Adam Burke, Senior Director, Conflict and Fragility, The Asia Foundation
  • Micheline Rama, Social Behavior Change Advisor, Law and Human Rights, The Asia Foundation (The Philippines)
  • Jeebs Unabia, media expert

The session builds on the experience of the Resiliency Initiative in supporting the more effective use of social media by civil society groups across the Asia-Pacific. The representatives from CSOs in Bangladesh and Nepal together with The Asia Foundation will share our experiences and thoughts in promoting tolerance, strengthening interfaith and interethnic understanding, and countering violent extremism by using online tools and community networks.

Online Gendered Censorship Landscape in Southeast Asia

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 13:45-14:15
Organiser: International Commission of Jurists

  • Daron Tan, Associate International Legal Adviser, International Commission of Jurists
  • Yogi Bratajaya, Legal Consultant, International Commission of Jurists

For many women or gender-nonconforming people, their ability to exercise their right to freedom of expression online is suppressed by discriminatory practices, social attitudes, and patriarchal norms. Online gender-based violence (OGBV) is used to chill or kill expression, and impermissible barriers obstruct access to justice and effective remedies. The facilitator will invite the participants to share their key observations of how OGBV manifests, how it impacts the human rights of women and gender-nonconforming individuals, and the barriers faced in accessing justice for rights violations and abuses. This session will then discuss advocacy strategies which aim to ensure that States and private tech companies comply with their human rights obligations and responsibilities to eradicate gendered censorship. The speakers will be invited to share advocacy strategies and best practices, progress achieved and challenges faced, both in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Tisya Hustisya: Digital Access to Justice and Building Rights-Claiming Online Communities

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 15:00-16:30
Organiser: IDEALS Inc.

  • Atty. Jonnah Marie Morado
  • Ms. Jeyra Marie Morallo
  • Atty. Artkario Bian Villanueva
  • Atty. Gail Ann Diola

This session aims to introduce Tisya Hustisya as an online free legal consultation chatbot administered by lawyers and an online information-as-aid platform providing rights education and rights awareness to Filipinos, and to facilitate discussions concerning the various digital breakthroughs and challenges it has experienced since its conception.

Southeast Asian Content Moderation Protocol for Advancing Technology for Democracy

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 15:30-17:00
Organiser: Open Net Korea

  • Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives
  • Damar Juniarto, SAFEnet
  • K.S. Park, Open Net Korea

Online administrative censorship is on the rise in Southeast Asia. Malaysia, Viet Nam, Thailand, and Indonesia implemented mandatory “notice-and-takedown” systems where criminal/civil liability is imposed on intermediaries for failure to take down or block websites when government agencies make the requests. We would like to discuss how we can work with ISPs and techs to push back on illegitimate censorship orders, what arguments we can present to them, etc. At the same time, social media trolls are attacking vulnerable groups to beat down the latter’s freedom of speech. We would like to discuss how we can work with social media platforms to moderate harmful content.

APKs by APTs: A look into state-funded Android spyware in East Asia

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 15:45-16:45
Organiser: Interlab

  • Ovi Liber, Interlab
  • Mich Choi, Interlab

This session is a deep dive into state-funded spyware campaigns targeting human rights activists.


Making Your Data Accessible: You don’t need a developer to publish your data

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 12:15-14:15
Organiser: Thibi Pte Ltd

  • Thet Paing Myo, Thibi
  • May Myat Thu, Thibi
  • Yan Naung Oak, Thibi
  • Pisith Vong, Open Development Cambodia

Do you collect or generate data as part of your work? Are you trying to figure out how to manage and publish your data, but don’t know how to code or don’t have access to a developer? In this workshop, you’ll learn how to manage, clean, organise, and publish data in an accessible way with ZERO lines of code. This workshop will introduce best practices and tools like Airtable and to empower activists and civil society groups in making data accessible, understandable, and actionable for their stakeholders.

Playing to Learn: Enhancing Mis/Disinformation Literacy with a Digital Card Game

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 14:20-16:20
Organiser: Tattle

Viral Spiral, a multiplayer card game creates a controlled setting for a group to simulate information sharing on the internet. Through the various gameplay mechanics, Tattle is attemping to highlight the role that people’s biases, affinities and personal greed for clout play in creating or disrupting the information ecosystem’s health. The game also tries to bring in ideas from media literacy research. Its world creates a fun environment where contentious ideas can be discussed in a real-life setting.

Using Social Media for Archiving Conflict and Protest

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 16:30-18:00
Organiser and Speaker: Arul Prakkash, WITNESS

In today’s world, social media has become a powerful tool for individuals and organisations to raise awareness about human rights abuses, document violations, and share stories of resilience and hope. In the context of conflict and protest, social media has become a crucial source of information for documenting human rights abuses and seeking justice for victims. However, social media content can easily be deleted, censored, or manipulated, making it difficult to hold perpetrators accountable and to ensure that victims’ voices are heard. Social media archiving plays a critical role in preserving digital evidence of human rights abuses and in making sure that important stories are not lost. This is where social media archiving comes in – it is the process of systematically capturing and preserving social media content for future use and analysis, with a focus on long-term preservation for justice and accountability.

Other Sessions

Asia-Pacific Secure Tech Developer Meetup

Date and time: May 22, 2023, 14:30-16:30
Organiser: OPTF

  • Sam de Silva, OPTF
  • Alex Linton, OPTF

The bulk of internet freedom and secure tech apps are being pushed out of Europe and North America; there are highly skilled and talented software engineers who have expertise in cryptography and security in the Asia Pacific. This meetup aims to bring those developers together. The meetup will also provide an entry point for those interested in becoming a secure tech developer. It is envisaged that the meetup will help kickstart an Asia-Pacific community of secure tech developers who can collaborate and support each other, create secure tech apps, and grow a pool of talent to build secure tech for change makers both in the Asia Pacific and globally.