Protest and Digital Repression: Repercussions and Pushback in Myanmar and Thailand
Date and Time: Tuesday, 28 June 2022| 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm (Singapore Time)
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Hosted by: ISEAS Yushof Isaf Institute
About the Webinar
Recent protests movements in both Myanmar and Thailand have met with authorities’ use of digital repression to deter or curb the movements’ activities and to undermine support for them. In an era when on- and off-line mobilization frequently intersect, that repression has been instrumental in attempts to suppress pro-democracy activism. In Myanmar, online campaigning against the State Administration Council regime that seized power in February 2021 has been met with Internet shutdowns, extensive blocking and removal of online content, and digital surveillance through the use of spyware. Ownership changes in the telecommunications sector threaten to increase the junta’s control of the Internet. In Thailand, military-backed regimes have long blocked contentious online content, weaponised computer-related lawsuits against dissidents, consolidated surveillance infrastructure, and deployed cyber troops to manipulate social media content. Digital repression has intensified in the aftermath of the country’s 2020-2021 youth-led protests. This webinar will address similarities and differences in patterns of digital repression in Myanmar and Thailand, the ways in which digital and traditional approaches to repression intertwine, and the impact of this interplay on protest movements in the two countries. It will consider how Myanmar and Thai protest movements have countered regime efforts to stifle digital activism.
About the Speakers
Thinzar Shunlei Yi is a democracy activist and human rights defender.
Janjiira Sombatpoonsiri is Visiting Fellow in ISEAS’s Media, Technology and Society Programme; Assistant Professor and Project Leader at the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok; and an associate at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies.