Internet Rules: Judicial and regulatory developments on digital rights in Asia

Part 1 - Lead Organizer


Contact Person

Gayatri Khandhadai

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

Association for Progressive Communications


Asia Policy Regional Coordinator



Economy of Residence


Primary Stakeholder Group

Civil Society


Part 2 - Session Proposal

Your proposal is for

Main Conference (Day 1-3)

Session Title

Internet Rules: Judicial and regulatory developments on digital rights in Asia


Inclusion Sustainability Trust

Session Format

Panel Discussion

Where do you plan to organize your session?

Virtual / online

Specific Issues for Discussion

In Asia, several regulatory developments have taken place in the last few years. Our research ( shows that jurisprudence developed around these laws have significantly shaped the experience of digital rights. In the context of the pandemic, across the region important judicial pronouncements and regulatory developments have taken place. These include Anti-fake news law in Malaysia, Cyber security law in Vietnam, Internet Gateway Decree in Cambodia, Intermediary Rules in India and Social Media rules in Pakistan. Similarly judicial pronouncements on network shutdowns in Indonesia criminalisation of criticism relating to relief measures in India and Bangladesh are also important. There is a pressing need to analyse the impact of these laws and judgments on the people and business enterprises it affects from a human rights based approach. Also, internet governance processes like APrIGF must be spaces for lawyers and other stakeholders to have discussions about regulatory frameworks with a view to broadening the understanding of participants. This panel will shed light on these key developments in the past two years with a view to improve attention on rule making and raising concrete recommendations for changes from a multi-stakeholder perspective.

Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF

Legislative, regulatory and jurisprudential developments impact the infrastructure, architecture and experience of the internet. They have the ability to improve our trust on ICTs or make users more wary of engaging with them freely. Courts are often persuaded by the discussions and decisions taken in other jurisdictions, especially if they share similarities. Regulatory developments too are exported within the region. For the sustainability of the internet, it is important that rules of engagement are predictable. Users must have some sense of security in knowing what is permitted, what is protected and what is prohibited. Lastly, rules regulating ICTs must be developed through the multi-stakeholder processes based firmly in a human rights based approach. Users, developers, regulators and business entities must have a say, this ensures inclusion. Inclusion fundamentally requires that voices of marginalised communities are not only heard, but are accounted for. Developing laws rooted in principles and predictability, an informed judiciary vigilant in upholding the rights of individuals contributes significantly to the building of an inclusive, trusted and sustainable internet. This session will help highlight the path towards this.

Methodology / Agenda

5 Minutes: The session will commence with a brief introduction to the discussions likely to be had and the background of the developments in the region and why we are discussing it. 5 minutes: Introduction of speakers will take place along with an outline of what they will be addressing. 7 minutes: Michael Caster, Article 19 will speak to developments in the region and why they are concerning from a human rights perspective. Country situations will be discussed along with important developments. 7 minutes: Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Malaysia will discuss the emergency ordinance on countering fake news in Malaysia and its impact on media. 7 minutes: Apar Gupta, Internet Freedom Foundation, India will discuss regulatory developments in India and important judicial pronouncements that impact content moderation and intermediary liabilities. 7 minutes: Damar Juniarto, SAFENet, Indonesia will discuss the internet shutdowns judgment and other developments in Indonesia. 15 minutes: Interaction with the participants will commence and questions from the chat will be taken up for response. 5 minutes: Closing with each speaker mentioning one legal development they would like to see for the improvement of digital rights in the region.

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

#InternetRules #DigitalLawsAsia #ICTLaw


Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)

Name Designation Organization Economy of Residence Stakeholder Group Gender Status of Confirmation
Moderator (Primary) Gayatri Khandhadai Asia Policy Regional Coordinator Association for Progressive Communications India Civil Society Female Confirmed
Moderator (Back-up) Pavitra Ramanujam Project Coordinator Association for Progressive Communications Indai Civil Society Female Confirmed
Speaker 1 Michael Caster Asia Digital Programme Manager ARTICLE 19 Thailand Civil Society Male Confirmed
Speaker 2 Damar Juniarto Executive Director SAFENET Indonesia Civil Society Male Confirmed
Speaker 3 Apar Gupta Executive Director Internet Freedom Foundation India Civil Society Male Confirmed
Speaker 4 Gayathry Venkiteswaran Assistant Professor and PhD Candidate University of Nottingham Malaysia Malaysia Academia Female Confirmed


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

Gayatri Khandhadai, the moderator of the session is the author of the research Jurisprudence shaping digital rights in South Asia ( and has been following legal and regulatory developments relating to ICTs for over a decade. Michael Caster, as the Asia Digital Programme Manager at Article 19 has been working closely with several organisations in the region to address developments relating to digital rights. He has contributed to analysis of the Cambodia Internet Gateway decree, Vietnam's cyber security law and the anti fake news ordinance in Malaysia. Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Malaysia is a leading expert on freedom of expression and media rights in the region. Her expertise on regulations relating to the media will enable the participants to learn about the emergency ordinance on countering fake news in Malaysia and its impact on media. She has been a part of earlier campaigns against anti fake news laws in Malaysia. Apar Gupta is a leading lawyer in India with a specific focus on internet rights. He has been a part of several litigation on internet shutdowns and ICT laws. His organisation has been consistently putting out explainers on the recent Intermediary Rules with a view of helping individuals understand the impact of the regulation. He is best placed to discuss principles relating to ICT laws from a human rights based approach. Damar Juniarto and SAFENet have been at the forefront of digital rights activism in the region. Their consistent monitoring of developments and violations in the region across countries. They were an integral part of the litigation relating to internet shutdowns in Papua. The judgment is of importance in digital rights discourse. Damr Juniarto has made many presentations relating to the judgment and recent laws in Indonesia in important spaces. For the reasons stated above, the speakers have been carefully selected to ensure that developments are well captured. The organisers have also reached out to members in the private sector to have them join the panel. If our proposal is selected, we will ensure the addition of this perspective.