Jolovan Wham is getting very familiar with the inside of police stations and courtrooms. The Singaporean activist currently has multiple cases pending against him, ranging from investigations up to convictions and sentencing. His offences, alleged or otherwise, include organising illegal assemblies, vandalism, refusing to sign statements to the police, and scandalising the judiciary. He is, according the Singapore Police Force, to be described as “recalcitrant”.
Internet users in Southeast Asia are confronted with a heavily regulated environment in which there are more restrictions being placed on freedom of expression. Despite technological advances, societies undergoing political transitions, such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, have yet to enjoy the full democratic potentials of a free and independent media. Instead of top-down reforms for the media, these countries need policies that prioritize the public’s interests. Only with the meaning public’s meaningful participation of civil society can these reforms become sustainable while supporting democratization.
The romance between ASEAN citizens and social media lives on. Social media continues to shape a more integrated and digitally savvy regional community. It has proven that its people have set limitations due to geographical borders, customary social divides, economic status and perhaps national laws and policies. At 50, ASEAN and its member states must admit that social media is not just here to stay, but is and will remain a dynamic force to be reckoned with.
By Joel Mark Baysa Barredo, Jose Santos P. Ardivilla
Governments around the world are taking draconian steps to suppress civil-society organizations, with measures ranging from restrictive laws and bureaucratic burdens to smear campaigns, censorship, and outright repression by intelligence agencies or police.
The meaning of the term ‘new media’ is still elusive. However, it can be said that new media is associated with information technology or the internet, and is an interactive form of communication. This book tries to explore the role of new media in social movements in Thailand, and how it will develop, through interviews with academics, journalists and activists. It is found that, among other things, new media has taken an increasingly important role in communication, challenging the conventional means of news consumption.