The purpose of this review was to look back over the past decade of country reports published in Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) and attempt to identify trends in civil society perspectives on what needed to be done to create a people-centred information society. The period for analysis was, more accurately, just over a decade: 2007-2017, during which a GISWatch report was produced each year – a total of 11 reports.
The methodology used to conduct the research for Unshackling Expression is based on a methodology developed by SMEX. This chapter provides an overview of the methodology's development and use. For the purposes of our own research, the methodology, insofar as it related to the classification of laws into legal foundations, fundamental rights and freedoms, governance of online and networked spaces, sectoral laws and other laws, was especially helpful in defining the scope and limitations.
Freedom of expression and opinion, the foundation stone of every free and democratic society, faces new and exacerbated challenges in online spaces. Throughout Asia and the world, people have taken to social media and online platforms to express themselves in ways that were not possible through traditional offline mediums. In response to this, and to the reach of the internet, states have sought to regulate and control online speech and expression. Offline regulations, typically in penal legislation, are applied to online spaces, to bolster internet-specific legislation.