Andreas Ufen / Sangeeta Mahapatra / Janjira Sombatpoonsiri

Capacity-Building Workshop on Anti-Fake News Lawfare, Penang, Malaysia, 23 May 2024

Lecture | 23/05/2024

  • Group photo at Capacity-Building Workshop on Anti-Fake News Lawfare, Penang, Malaysia, 23 May 2024
    © Penang Institute

    On 23 May 2024, GIGA researchers PD Dr. Andreas Ufen, Dr. Sangeeta Mahapatra, and Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri organized a hybrid capacity-building workshop in George Town, Malaysia, together with our local partner, the Penang Institute.

    Of the 23 participants, 12 were present in Penang and 11 joined online from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Most of the Malaysian participants were journalists or media experts.

    In different panels, participants talked about patterns and trends of anti-fake news laws, digital/social media platforms and anti-fake news measures, ways of regulating mis/disinformation, and civil society pushback strategies.


    Capacity-Building Workshop on Anti-Fake News Lawfare


    Penang, Malaysia, Penang

    GIGA Talk | 06/12/2023

    GIGA Talk: Weaponising Fake News Laws. Autocratic Use of Disinformation Laws Against Civil Society in South and Southeast Asia

    Weaponising Fake News Laws, GIGA Berlin Büro, and online event, Berlin Organisers: German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) PD Dr. Andreas Ufen (Consultant)

    This talk presents the latest findings from our research on governments’ use of fake news laws as a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) tactic. This trend has accompanied autocratisation in places such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Thailand. In these countries, governments have ridden the global wave of countering disinformation, exploiting existing information laws or passing new ones to censor and criminalise civil society while seeking to control the flow of information digitally. Together with other draconian laws and tools of digital repression such as surveillance and online smear campaigns, fake news laws increase the costs of public participation that could help keep the executive in check. Facing multiple charges, dissidents and journalists are compelled to fight endless court cases, depleting their energy and limited financial resources as well as being a time sink, further to enduring the detrimental psychological effects of this misuse of legal powers. This talk unpacks these mechanisms and proposes counter-responses to weaponising fake news laws.


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