Transnational conversations on reclaiming freedom of expression online

Part 1 - Lead Organizer

 

Contact Person

Sachini Perera

Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate)

Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ)

Designation

Member

Gender

Array

Economy of Residence

Sri Lanka

Primary Stakeholder Group

Civil Society

 

Part 2 - Session Proposal

Your proposal is for

Main Conference (Day 1-3)

Session Title

Transnational conversations on reclaiming freedom of expression online

Track(s) (can select more than one)

Inclusion; Trust

Session Format

Array

Where do you plan to organize your session?

Virtual / online

Specific Issues for Discussion

Digital rights activists and researchers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Malaysia are coming together to discuss how access, expression and violence on the internet are experienced by women and queer and trans people in our countries. We will be connecting dots between our countries in our governments’ increased use of criminal law to regulate behaviour online and the implications this has for freedom of expression, especially for communities who are marginalized on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, class, migrant status, etc. and have limited access to begin with. We want to unpack how macroeconomic ideologies and the platform economy enable and thrive on online gender-based violence, misinformation, hate speech, etc. in our countries and the role of platform companies in regulating and protecting freedom of expression. We want to discuss strategies that go beyond laws, policies and content moderation, and offer new ways of reclaiming the internet as a commons in which meaningful access is defined by how free, vibrant and free of violence we can be online.

Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF

This session will cut across the tracks of this year’s APrIGF, especially Inclusion and Trust. Violence, hate speech, mis/disinformation, lack of data sovereignty for people and lack of meaningful access are just a few of the issues rampant in today’s internet, especially in many of our countries where the walled gardens of social media are the equivalent of the internet for many people. The shortcomings of existing responses like criminalization and content moderation show that if we are to collectively work “Towards an Inclusive, Sustainable and Trusted Internet”, there is a need to build from the realities of our communities, especially in the majority world. Our session will ensure that the geographical, cultural and socio-economic specificities of being on the internet in our countries and communities are not lost or homogenised in regional discussions and priorities, and help us create transnational solidarities and strategies for an internet and internet governance that works for all of us.

Methodology / Agenda

Given the shared love of food and community in our four countries, this session will follow a kitchen table/ kopitiam (coffee shop) format in which we all gather around a now-virtual table for an informal chat of learning, discussing and imagining. It is a way to break out of jargon, terminologies and project deliverables and make a commitment to listen to each other and build together. The discussion will be recorded by rapporteurs and the discussion outcomes will be graphic recorded by an artist and disseminated among our national, regional and cross-regional networks. Following is a breakdown of the proposed agenda. 5-10 minutes - Introduction to session and methodology by facilitators. Ice breaker. Depending on the number of participants, continue in the group or break into 2 groups. 30 minutes - Discussion framed by broad guiding questions by facilitators. The discussion isn’t aiming at consensus but will make space for as many people to contribute knowledge, ideas and opinions from their contexts, and for those to be recorded. 15 minutes - Identify some of the ways forward that emerged and brainstorm what is needed in order to implement them (knowledge creation, movement building, funding, etc.) 5 minutes - Closing

Please provide 3 subject matter tags that best describe your session.

#FreedomOfExpression #OnlineViolence #DigitalRights

 

Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)

Name Organization Designation Economy of Residence Stakeholder Group Gender Status of Confirmation
Moderator (Primary) Sachini Perera Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ) Member Sri Lanka Civil Society Nonbinary woman (she\/they) Confirmed
Moderator (Back-up)
Speaker 1 Saritha Irugalbandara Hashtag Generation Social Media Analyst - Gender & Sexuality Sri Lanka Civil Society Woman (she\/they) Confirmed
Speaker 2 Shubha Kayastha Body & Data Executive Director Nepal Civil Society Woman (she) Confirmed
Speaker 3 Serene Lim KRYSS Network Partner-Director Malaysia Civil Society Woman (she) Confirmed
Speaker 4 Dana Zhang Feminist Leadership and Mobilization on the Edge (FLAME) Executive Director Taiwan Civil Society Woman (she) Confirmed

 

Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.

This session brings together digital rights activists and researchers from Nepal, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan who have expertise in the various ways access, freedom of expression and violence intersect on the internet. RESURJ is a transnational alliance of younger global south women’s rights activists grounded in diverse social justice movements to lead, create and hold space for the realisation of sexual and reproductive justice. We are committed to creating cross-movement, cross-regional and transnational spaces such as this proposed event for activists to come together and strategize towards a world that celebrates all kinds of expression and diversity. FLAME works on gender-equal access to technology, with a particular interest in gender-based violence online, long-term care technology and agriculture technology. We have been developing local resources that help advance the understanding of the public in Taiwan about online violence, its potential impacts and how to imagine alternative responses. KRYSS Network is a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on freedom of opinion and expression from a gender lens in Malaysia. Our work, among other things, focuses on ensuring safer online spaces for all peoples to freely express their lived realities, experiences, opinions, and thoughts without threats of harassment and violence. BODY & DATA works to enhance understanding and access to information on digital rights among women, queer people, and minority groups where they are able to exercise their rights in a safe and just digital space. We work towards the vision of accessible, safe, and just digital space for all, through the cross-movement building, facilitation for access to information, knowledge building, and dissemination of digital rights in the context of Nepal. HASHTAG GENERATION is a movement led and run by a group of young tech-savvy, socially conscious Sri Lankans advocating for the meaningful civic and political participation of youth, especially young women and young people from minority groups. Their work has ranged from advocating for youth participation in decision-making, strengthening women’s civic and political engagement, advocacy for the rights of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities and raising awareness on the importance of cyber security, and countering misinformation and online hate speech.