The past decades have seen the rapid growth of internet use and digital technologies across South and Southeast Asia, with more people turning to online platforms to exercise fundamental human rights. Governments too have recognised the role of information and communications technology (ICT) for national growth, crafting ambitious development programs and various ICT-related policies to provide legal bases in a fast-evolving digital landscape.
While these laws are well-intentioned in theory – to protect the public against cybercrime and crack down on hate speech, for instance – the reality of implementation shows that these laws are often weaponised to stifle free speech, expand state surveillance, and impose more forms of digital authoritarianism.
This research report titled “ICT Policies and Implications on Digital Rights: South and Southeast Asian Context” aims to assess the digital rights impact of various ICT-related laws and policies enacted in six South and Southeast Asian countries. The report consolidates research from Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Maldives, Nepal, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka, produced by the following organisations:
- News Network (Bangladesh)
- Cambodian Center for Independent Media (Cambodia)
- Society for Peace and Democracy (Maldives)
- Digital Rights Nepal (Nepal)
- Out of The Box Media Literacy Initiative Inc. (Philippines)
- Hashtag Generation (Sri Lanka)
This report has been produced by EngageMedia as part of the Greater Internet Freedom project.