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.
Check out the list of breakout sessions open to the public for Day 2, May 23. 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 drapac.engagemedia.org. 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
Countering hate speech in elections: Lessons learnt and ways to counter hate speech
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 11:30-13:30
Organiser: ARTICLE 19
- Nalini Elumalai, Senior Malaysia Program Officer, ARTICLE 19
- Wathshala Naidu, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Malaysia
- Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines
Democracies, at various phases of development and consolidation, have proven vulnerable to hate speech and its ill effects. Election campaigns provide particularly fertile ground for hate speech and incitement to violence. The authority wielded by, and the amplifying impact of, mass and social media have been a significant factor in recent years. In the recent election in Malaysia, we witnessed the role of TikTok in influencing and fueling hatred. What is concerning is TikTok primarily has younger users compared to Facebook and Twitter.
New (old) philosophies to rebalance Work and Play
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 12:30-13:45
Organiser: Dev Lewis
Speaker: Dev Lewis, Digital Asia Hub
In the Anthropocene era, our planet is facing a crisis of the environment and of what it means to be human. Institutions entrusted to lead us through crises are not just failing but are often the source of systemic problems. In this session, I will highlight some of the major crises today and explain how this is a result of an imbalance of ‘Work’ over ‘Play’. Drawing on principles from ancient Asian philosophies such as Daoism, Advaita/Vedanta, and Buddhism, this framework allows us to critique our present reality and imagine alternate paths for ourselves and our planet.
Both Sides Now, Part I: Southeast Asian Democratic Participation through a Feminist Perspective: A Hybrid Conversation in conjunction with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 12:45-14:00
Organiser: New Naratif
- Thet Wai, democratic participation researcher, New Naratif
- Westminster Foundation for Democracy
As the first of two sharing sessions on New Naratif’s research, in conjunction with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, this sharing session focuses on our democratic participation research. Specifically, it takes into account the different ways in which feminism is practiced and conceptualised, and specifically draws upon Myanmar’s context and the researcher’s personal experience. There will also be some discussion on how we deploy research as activism. Rather than being a passive virtual session, Thet Wai will also host a hybrid discussion session with a featured guest to highlight their personal exploration of feminist activism and vernacularisation through the Democratic Participation Research Series.
Internet Shutdown: Risks, Needs and Challenges
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 13:15-14:30
Organiser: Digitally Right
- Laura Schwartz-Henderson, Internews
- Chinmayi S K, The Bachchao Project
- Miraj Chowdhury, Digitally Right
- V, The Bachchao Project
Internet shutdowns have become more common in recent years, depriving people worldwide of full or partial access to the internet. To better understand civil society’s needs on these shutdowns, Digitally Right in Bangladesh and The Bachchao Project in India have partnered with Internews to conduct this necessary research. This research aimed to identify the risks of internet shutdowns, the tools and skills necessary to prepare for them, and the legal and strategic approaches available to combat them. The session will showcase the findings of this research and learn from other organisations that are working to combat internet censorship in the Asia Pacific region.
Fighting (Election) Disinformation after Tech Winter
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 14:00-15:15
Organiser: Perludem (Association for Election and Democracy)
- Brizza Rosales, Project Director of LENTE (Legal Network for Truthful Elections)
- Noudhy Valdryno Head of Public Policy, Meta Indonesia & Brunei
Tech winter made headlines in 2022. Unexpectedly, Meta, Twitter, and Google announced mass job cuts. This session will discuss the layoff era of big tech that would impede the company’s ability to moderate hateful and other problematic content, especially during elections. The session will also discuss concrete strategies and actions for follow-up, in terms of engagement with platforms.
Challenging Big Tech in the Newsroom
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 14:15-15:30
Organiser: Media Matters for Democracy
- Asad Baig, Media Matters for Democracy (in-person)
- Mahim Maher, Aaj TV (joining virtually)
The session will analyse Big Tech’s takeover of digital advertising spend in South Asian markets like Pakistan, where 85% of digital revenue is pocketed by Google and Meta with little to no prospect of revenue generation through paywalling of content. The discussion will focus on ideas for alternative revenue streams, address challenges such as the promotion of revenue generation through subscription, and examine Big Tech’s profiteering from monetisation of disinformation. It will highlight the formation of the Pakistan Digital Editor Alliance (PDEA), an initiative to help newsrooms minimise their increasing reliance on Meta and Google in Pakistan. The session will be based primarily on MMfD’s recently published research.
Investigating VPN censorship with Open Data: landscape survey and research questions
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 14:30-15:45
Organiser: Seerat Khan, Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan; A. Ghazal (researcher and member of OONI community)
- Seerat Khan, DRFP (in-person)
- Ksenia Ermoshina, eQualitie, Citizen Lab (joining virtually)
- Ain Ghazal, OONI community (in-person)
In the context of increasing bans on VPN tools, we aim at building collaborative knowledge about the situation on the ground regarding VPN bans, and circumvention strategies.
CSO’s role in the regulations in digital space: case study from Taiwan and World Justice Projects
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 14:45-15:45
Organiser: NDI, World Justice Project
- Srirak Plipat, World Justice Project
- Pamela Huang, Judicial Reform Foundation – member of Executive Committee
- Szu-Hui Huang, Open Culture Foundation Project Coordinator
- Jason Liu
From AI to disinformation, regulation in the digital space is one of the most challenging and urgent issues nowadays. The speakers of this session will share their advocacy strategies, campaign methods, and lessons learned from their experience, which will lead to a discussion with the audience to hear more cases from Asia-Pacific. World Justice Projects will share their ongoing project on the principle of disinformation regulation, and CSOs from Taiwan will share their successful stories of campaigning for change to protect digital rights of citizens.
Featuring g0v.tw and brainstorming civic tech project handbook for Asia-Pacific communities
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 15:15-17:00
Organiser: NDI, g0v jothon
- Isabel Hou, chairperson of g0v jothon; lawyer
- Analeigh Yao, Event Coordinator of g0v jothon
- Avery Ying, Executive Secretary of g0v jothon
The session aims to introduce civic tech culture and community in Taiwan, with a special focus on g0v.tw as a leading example, along with a workshop to facilitate knowledge sharing and idea exchange among professionals from the Asia-Pacific region on developing a handbook for civic tech projects. Through interactive discussions and presentations, participants will learn about the process of how g0v.tw has developed the community over the past 10 years and fostered collaborations for civic tech projects.
Digitisation of Identities in the Asia-Pacific through a Data Justice Lens
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 15:30-16:45
Organiser: Body & Data
- Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)
- Serene Lim, KRYSS Network
- Neha Gauchan, Body & Data
- Shambhawi Paudel, Body & Data
E-governance initiatives are more than ever, becoming a national priority for many governments in the Asia-Pacific region. Adoption of e-governance is often conflated with “progress” and considered “good governance”; the same is not the case as the efforts to over-amplify tech solutions have brought more harm than “good”. Such initiatives often collect/process and share unique bodily data for verification and authentication that contribute to existing social inequities, especially among women and marginalized populations. Through this panel on “Digitisation of Identities in the Asia-Pacific through a Data Justice Lens”, we want to re-think various e-governance initiatives by the states and discuss shared experiences and differences in their implementation in countries within the region. We will discuss the themes of efforts, diverse identities’ experiences with the initiatives and the effects of such programs on their lived realities.
Roundtables and Discussions
Community Radios: The perspective from Digital Rights and freedom of expression
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 11:00-12:30
Organiser: Jadeite Solutions & Sarbani Banerjee Belur
- Sarbani Banerjee Belur, Asia Regional Coordinator, Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
- Ritu Srivastava, Director, Jadeite Solutions
What are the main VPN tools used by our communities? What sources of trust are there to find one that works? What considerations do users have when selecting a circumvention tool and how these choices are undercut by gender, class, race, language, disabilities, etc.?
Connecting the Unconnected: To Support Meaningful Connectivity for Rural Areas and Remote Places
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 12:45-14:15
Organiser: Common Room Networks Foundation
Speakers: Ressa Ria Lestari (Common Room Networks Foundation)
Common Room Networks Foundation (Common Room) has been developing and managing the School of Community Networks (SCN) program for two years. This program is one of the efforts to address the digital divide challenges in rural and remote areas. Indonesia has similar challenges with several other countries in efforts to reduce the digital divide, especially for internet access and meaningful connectivity. Through this session, it is expected to co-create recommendation documents derived from the learning of various organisations and individuals to encourage the alleviation of the digital divide through the principle of meaningful connectivity.
Internet Monitoring Action Project (iMAP) & 2022 Findings of Internet Censorship
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 14:45-16:45
Organiser: Sinar Project
- Kelly Koh
- Siti Nurliza Samsudin, Sinar Project
This session will begin with an introduction on iMAP, followed by the findings of 2022 country reports in eight countries: Cambodia, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. There is also an interactive component where we will invite the participants to join the discussions and explore ideas on ways the participants can utilise the report findings into their work. We will also share some examples on how OONI Measurements and internet censorship reports were used in other countries.
It’s magic? Making sense of algorithms and AI
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 11:00-13:00
Organiser: Roskilde University, Denmark
Speakers: Dr. Martina Skrubbeltrang Mahnke, Associate Professor for Communication and Digital Technologies, Faculty for Communications and Arts, Roskilde University, Denmark
This workshop explores how we as users can think about and relate to social media algorithms and AI applications. Through a series of hands-on exercises mixed with some philosophical discussions, we will explore social media intelligent applications through the lens of “otherness”. How can we relate and make sense of the “human-like other”? Join us for some abstract philosophical discussions and hands-on exercises when we try to find human answers to on-ongoing tech developments.
Storytelling for Advocacy Filmmakers
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 11:00-13:00
Organiser: EngageMedia, Picture People, Video4Change Network
Speakers: Claudia Modonesi Executive Director, Picture People
Visual storytelling is a powerful tool to increase understanding of social issues and to advocate for change. This masterclass will provide you with the tools and room for discussion to better understand how you can maximise the impact of your work by creating compelling narratives and imagery aimed at positive change. Who is this Masterclass for? Photographers, filmmakers, image-makers, NGO/civil society professionals, and anyone interested in image-making and/or social issues.
Analyzing Digital Laws
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 13:15-14:45
Organiser: ICNL and EngageMedia
Research Against the Tech Machine: Building a community of corporate accountability researchers & advocates with Ranking Digital Rights
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 13:15-15:15
Organiser: Ranking Digital Rights
- Leandro Ucciferri, Ranking Digital Rights
- Jie Zhang, Ranking Digital Rights
This workshop will introduce participants to the RDR Corporate Accountability methodology and resources to study tech companies across the Majority World, guiding participants on how to design and implement a research project tailored to their own local contexts and needs. Join the RDR team as we showcase our new Research Lab, Knowledge Center and Scorecard Toolkit, which make it easier than ever to use our standards for your own project. During the workshop, we will explain how you can use these tools and resources, and what you need to consider ways to adapt our methods, with the aim to grow the community of researchers that are able to study local/regional tech companies outside the US and EU bubbles.
(Don’t) Pick your poison! A Health Fact-checking Adventure
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 14:30-16:30
Organiser: VERA Files
- Merinette Retona, reporter and training officer, VERA Files
- Nica Rhiana Hanopol, Assistant Lead, Fact-checking public figures project, VERA Files
- Blanch Marie Ancla, Researcher-Reporter, VERA Files
Misconceptions on health information such as urban myths and unfounded medical advice are prevalent in Asian countries including the Philippines. This interactive and informative session by VERA Files follows the story of Grandma Pining and her 20-year-old granddaughter Liwayway as they demystify prominent health misinformation in the region via a fact-checking game.
Video as Evidence Environmental Defense Guide
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 15:00-16:30
- Arul Prakkash, WITNESS
- Kartika Pratiwi, WITNESS
We recognise the great risks that environmental defenders take to stand up to power and understand that the collection of visual evidence is only one strategy communities use to protect their environmental human rights. Environmental defenders and monitors living close to natural habitats have always been the first line of defence against the industries responsible for the destruction of our shared natural resources. Time after time, affected peoples have peacefully stood up to the corporate exploitation of forests, wetlands, oceans, coastlines, skies, and biodiversity hotspots. Our new Video As Evidence Environmental Defense Guide, as part of our #Video4Earth campaign, is created to help community-based documenters collect visual documentation of environmental human rights crimes and violations so that the documentation can be effectively used in advocacy and accountability processes. It features learnings from numerous partners and allies in this fight, utilizing a wealth of tactics and technologies to achieve justice for their communities.
Trolls, Fake News, and Hijacked Democracies: The Pursuit of Digital Justice in the Philippines
Date and time: May 23, 2023, 13:15-14:30
Organiser: Computer Professionals’ Union
Speakers: Maded Batara III, Computer Professionals’ Union
During this session, the Philippine Digital Justice Initiative, led by the Computer Professionals’ Union, will explore the characteristics, impacts, and potential solutions to the challenges posed by an increasingly digital world in the Philippines. Through the lens of equity and social justice, we will delve into how digitalisation, datafication, platformisation, and intelligencification are affecting Philippine democracy, human rights, labour, agriculture, education, poverty, inequality, and social movements. Our discussion will focus on the key digital justice issues in the Philippines, including the digital divide, precarious platform-based work, troll armies and fake news, and hijacked democracies. Additionally, we will present the Filipino people’s digital justice declaration, outlining our vision for a more equitable and just digital future for all.