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The Thai government has banned four independent media outlets and a Facebook page from generating and broadcasting any news content under the premise that these organisations pose a major threat to national security. The government’s decision to ban these groups, however, is both misleading and counterproductive....

Today, on the anniversary of the 2006 Thai coup, protesters will once again gather at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, to call for political changes and democratic reforms. Students as young as 14 years old have been at the forefront of the protests, with some groups demanding ten key reforms, among them the revocation of the lese-majeste law and the pardoning of all those jailed due to this law....

Maung Saungkha and Kyaw Lynn are members of the Coconet community. Prior to his July 27 sentencing, Kyaw Lynn had published on Coconet.social articles on how the Myanmar internet shutdown is contributing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s attempts to censor information on the Arakan (Rakhine) conflicts. Both members were arrested for participating in protests against the internet shutdown in Rakhine and Chin states, currently the longest shutdown in the world....

The need for accurate translations for English resources on technology continues to be necessary in order to reach a wider audience in our diverse region. In line with that thrust, the three-part series on artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of Southeast Asia by Jun-E Tan is now available in Thai. This AI series was voluntarily translated by Teerada Na Jatturas, a consultant with UNESCO with a postgraduate degree in Digital Communications from the University of Westminster....

We appeal to Finas to stay true to its role of “uplifting, nurturing and facilitating” the development of the Malaysian film industry, as stated in Section 6 (1) of the Finas Act, and not function against the interest of filmmakers. If Finas enforces regulations under the law to censor and penalise filmmakers, it will go against its own objective and purpose....

What are digital rights? While human rights have been more clearly defined through the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and translated into various legally-binding laws, the same cannot be said for the terms “digital”, “technology”, or the “internet”. In unpacking these terms, we’ll find the interpretations vary much more widely....

What does it mean when technologists say “you can code anything”? In her inaugural article for The IO Foundation, Maryam Lee shares her thoughts on why human rights perspectives have the potential to move technological innovation to greater heights. She also argues that people do not need to choose between enjoying the latest technologies and human rights, and how they both could co-exist in our lives....

Note from the editor: After recent news related to human rights and freedom of expression in their country, Coconet members from Thailand shared the following call for solidarity addressed to the international community. We would like to share it here in full, with some links......

ความหวังที่จะเห็นการเปลี่ยนแปลงทางการเมืองของไทยเริ่มเกิดขึ้นอีกครั้งในช่วงต้นปี 2563 จากการเคลื่อนไหวของคนรุ่นใหม่หลังศาลรัฐธรรมนูญวินิจฉัยยุบพรรคอนาคตใหม่เมื่อวันที่ 21 กุมภาพันธ์ ได้จุดไฟกระแสความไม่พอใจที่มีต่อรัฐบาลของ พล.อ.ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา ที่ดำรงตำแหน่งนายกรัฐมนตรีมาตั้งแต่เหตุการณ์รัฐประหารปี 2557 จนนำไปสู่กระแสกิจกรรมแฟลชม็อบ (Flash mob) ที่ดำเนินไปเป็นไฟลามทุ่งโดยกลุ่มนักศึกษาในหลายสถาบันทั่วประเทศ จากสถิติของศูนย์ทนายความเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชนที่บันทึกเหตุการณ์ช่วงระหว่างวันที่ 21 กุมภาพันธ์จนถึง 14 มีนาคม 2563 พบว่า มีการจัดกิจกรรมชุมนุมในลักษณะแฟลชม็อบ เพื่อเรียกร้องประชาธิปไตยและต่อต้านเผด็จการอย่างน้อย 79 ครั้งที่เกิดในพื้นที่มหาวิทยาลัยจากทั่วประเทศ...

Hope for political change in Thailand has grown stronger in 2020 after a wave of student protests across the country followed the constitutional court’s dissolution of the opposition Future Forward Party. This wave of protests, dubbed the “youthquake” phenomenon, is reflective of the political awareness among the Thai youth. Despite the ban on public assembly, the youth have taken to platforms online and offline to vent out their frustrations. Online, however, the Thai youth continue to protest, using social media to voice out their criticisms against the government. ...

Awal bulan Juni 2020, Pengadilan Tata Usaha Negara (PTUN) menyatakan Pemerintah Indonesia, dalam hal ini Presiden RI dan Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informasi (Menkominfo), telah melanggar hukum atas tindakan pelambatan (throttling) dan pemblokiran internet di beberapa wilayah di Papua dan Papua Barat pada tahun 2019. Kasus yang terjadi selama kurang lebih satu bulan dari tanggal 19 Agustus hingga 28 September 2019 ini diajukan ke PTUN oleh koalisi kelompok masyarakat sipil yang ada di Asia Tenggara. Kemenangan Tim Pembela Kebebasan Pers atas gugatan pada Menkominfo dan Presiden RI, menjadi contoh baik menyikapi cara pemerintah menerapkan otoritasnya dalam pengelolaan Internet....

Earlier this month, the Jakarta State Administrative Court declared as illegal the internet shutdowns in Papua and West Papua enforced by the Indonesian government in 2019. The case on the month-long shutdown, from August 19 to September 28 last year, was filed by a coalition of civil society groups working in Southeast Asia. The victory of the Press Freedom Defender Team over the lawsuit against the Minister of Communication and Information and the President of the Republic of Indonesia, is a good example of how citizens can respond to government’s unlawful management of public communication infrastructure like the Internet. ...

Songs in the local language of the Marapu community in East Sumba, Indonesia, have become a bridge for the Marapu community to directly communicate and receive information and relevant health recommendations from the World Health Organisation and national and local governments in a culturally familiar and appropriate context....

On the evening of April 22, 2020, researcher Ravio Patra was arrested in Jakarta, Indonesia, not long after an attempt to protect his safety due to a WhatsApp privacy breach. His work has captured the interest of many, notably his most recent critique on the sparse handling of COVID-19 by the Jokowi administration....

The pandemic has impacted how civil society organisations do advocacy work, derailing weeks (or months, in our case) of planning. However, we knew we had to adapt and innovate. Instead of a physical conference, we decided to execute a fully online youth conference for April 4, 2020. And, despite less than a month of planning, we did it....

Coconet is an Asia-Pacific regional initiative supporting changemakers to build the digital rights movement. In October 2019, Coconet II expanded the space for new changemakers: activists, journalists, artists, technologists, filmmakers, lawyers, and researchers, who represent a wide variety of social and environmental movements. Over 120 changemakers from 22 countries converged in Antipolo, Philippines, to discuss and share their knowledge on digital rights, exchange tactics and skills, and plan joint campaigns and collaborations to strengthen their respective movements as well as support broader ones....

While governments and health workers worldwide are focused on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also busy fighting another related pandemic that cuts across all sectors of society: a massive “infodemic” equally as wide-reaching and harmful....

We are going to take a closer look on what can happen when AI is weaponised and used against civil and political rights (CPR) such as the right to life and self-determination, as well as individual freedoms of expression, religion, association, assembly, and so on....

By utilising humour and the shareability of memes, it becomes clear that memes can be used for the diffusion of information across the Internet because of their speed and capillarity on social media....

Despite the rapid proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) in our everyday life and communications, it is still little understood by much of civil society in Southeast Asia. What exactly is AI? And what are its current applications in the region? How do we relate these new technologies with risks of human rights violations? And what are the possible advocacy strategies?...

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a topic that digital rights activists in the region are concerned about, but have little understanding of. At the moment, civil society has more questions than answers to the human rights implications of machine learning and massive amounts of data collected to train the machines....

Arthit Suryawongkul from Thai Netizen Network articulates the importance of community and collaboration, and the importance of cross-movement spaces like Coconet in Southeast Asia....

Solidarity works. Solidarity crosses borders, solidarity crosses differences. Indonesian activist Dhyta Caturani urges everyone to grow and nurture the solidarity for successful movements across Southeast Asia....