Written by ICNL consultant Meghna Sharma, this briefer examines how authoritarian COVID-19 policies in the Indo-Pacific region have affected civil society’s freedom of expression in Asia. Drawing from the ICNL-ECNL Covid-19 Civic Freedoms Tracker, the briefer examines various repressive measures, including censorship of speech through criminalization measures, harassment in the name of targeting ‘fake news,’ cyber-attacks, and other methods used to suppress the free expression of civil society actors.
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Authored by ICNL consultant Kirana Anjani, this briefer dives deep into the challenges faced by civil society in Southeast Asia as a result of authoritarian COVID-19 policies adopted by many governments in the region, to the detriment of civic space and effective COVID-19 response. Drawing from data in the ICNL-ECNL Covid-19 Civic Freedoms Tracker, the briefer examines examples of rampant digital surveillance by governments, lack of transparency and access with respect to critical public health information, and attacks on both community COVID-19 initiatives and medical frontline workers.
This working paper, by Ingrid Srinath, the Director of the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University, examines the origins and growing strength of forces ranged against civil society in India, and points toward the actions necessary to confront them – including reforming regulatory frameworks, anachronistic laws, and improving participatory governance.
Throughout the year, ICNL rapidly developed legal analyses to support civil society under pressure, including practical resources to navigate evolving environments.
In early 2020, as COVID began to spread globally, ICNL recognized the repercussions of states’ emergency responses on fundamental freedoms and civil society. To address this, ICNL partnered with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to convene a high-level meeting in May 2021 on protecting civic space and ending unnecessary emergency measures.
On June 30, 2021, ICNL hosted an online discussion for civil society organization representatives from around the world to share best practices on how to address corruption in public responses to COVID-19.
On May 24th 2021, ICNL and Sida are hosting a high-level virtual conversation on emergency measures, fundamental freedoms, and revitalizing civic space in the wake of COVID-19.
To get a full picture of how COVID-19 measures have impacted civil society in the Asia-Pacific region, ICNL conducted a survey in December 2020 to assess government practices. We received responses from organizations in 14 countries across the region.
While disinformation is not a new problem, the digital age has created new threats. This ICNL policy prospectus examines measures that can address the evolving challenges of disinformation while protecting the freedom of expression.
The COVID-19 epidemic has necessitated a shift to remote operations across society, from workplaces to schools to holiday celebrations, and government operations are no exception. The shift to remote operations, however, can restrict opportunities for in-person public participation in policy development and implementation.