In recent years, state-led clampdowns on online freedom of expression have become widespread in several countries across Asia, further intensified by the COVID-19 crisis.
The reasons for this are complex and diverse – drawing upon history, culture and politics, in addition to external influences. Across the region, governments have been accused of silencing online criticism and failing to uphold rights to free speech.
Individuals have been arrested, fined or attacked for the alleged spread of ‘fake news’, raising concern among human rights organizations. In some countries, this has culminated in the imposition of new social media rules, which could require social media companies to censor posts and share decrypted messages.
In China, the government’s restrictive online regime has relied on a combination of legal, technical and manipulation tactics to manage control of the internet, and now includes attempts at censorship beyond its borders.
Panellists will discuss the latest regional developments affecting online freedom of expression in the Asia region, and will consider the broader regional and international implications for technology governance.
This webinar launches the publication Restrictions on online freedom of expression in China: The domestic, regional and international implications of China’s policies and practices.
Yaqiu Wang, Researcher, Human Rights Watch
Harriet Moynihan, Senior Research Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House
Chair: Champa Patel, Director, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House