Unlike any other medium, the internet enables individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds instantaneously and inexpensively across national borders. Unlike any other technological development, it has created an interactive form of communication, which not only allows you to send information in one direction, but also to send information in many directions and receive an immediate response.
Regulations pertaining to online spaces have taken many forms. Information and communication technology (ICT) laws throughout Asia have provisions that seek to censor and criminalise speech online. These regulations pose a significant challenge to people’s freedom of expression and their ability to participate in democratic processes such as elections. Media and journalists along with human rights defenders are finding it increasingly difficult to engage in online spaces with the threat of prosecution looming large.
Freedom of expression and opinion online is increasingly criminalised with the aid of penal and internet-specific legislation. With this report, we hope to bring to light the problematic trends in the use of laws against freedom of expression in online spaces in Asia.
In this special edition of GISWatch, APC brings together analysis on the criminalisation of online expression from six Asian states: Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand.
Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) has reached its 10th edition, providing the international community with yearly reports on the state of the information society from the perspective of local civil society organisations and experts from all around the world.