A CONFERENCE on free expression in cyberspace will bring together independent online providers of news and commentary from Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia in Manila to share experiences and discuss needs, threats, trends, and issues of ethics and the emerging roles and responsibilities of bloggers, podcasters and the alternative online media.

Dubbed “Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace: A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media,” the three-day meeting sponsored by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), in cooperaton with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), will be held at The Asian Institute of Management Conference Center (ACCEED) in Makati from April 19-21, 2006.

Regarded as the most crucial front for free expression in the region and the rest of the developing world, cyberspace has become a battleground between those who seek to exploit its vastness and inherent openness to promote freedom of expression, and those who seek to control it along with the traditional mass media.

For much of Asia, the Internet has become the only viable medium for offering independent news, information and commentary as alternative to prevailing state-controlled news an information regimes. The Internet remains Nepal’s only link to the outside world as the media there try to wage a difficult battle for their existence. Burmese journalists from South and Southeast Asia maximize the online tools from blogs to VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) to circumvent the military junta, one of the harshest and most restrictive regimes in the world.

But free expression in cyberspace has increasingly come under attack or threat in Asia. In China and Vietnam, cyberdissidents continue to be jailed for posting pro-democracy essays on the Net. In Singapore and Malaysia, individual bloggers and webmasters have been threatened with criminal defamation cases and for violation of the Internal Security Act.

Independent websites were shut down by the information ministry in Thailand for being critical of the Thaksin government.

Though largely credited for disseminating the audio files of the taped conversations that seriously cast doubt on the legitimacy of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election victory, Filipino bloggers, in particular the writers of the PCIJ, were recently threatened by the secretary of justice with cases of “inciting to sedition,” and the Center’s office also targeted by a search warrant.

Day One of the conference will revolve around the theme, “The Asian Internet Experience” to include an overview of cyberjournashlism, blogging and podcasting in the region; how the Internet is changing the media landscape and public discourse in Asia.

Day Two will be devoted to the theme “The Battle for the Internet” featuring sessions on threats and vulnerabilities represented by technology (filtering, blocking, censorship), laws and regulations (libel and defamation, anti-terrorism and national security laws) affecting the Internet in Asia; as well as non-legal and non-technological pressures (business and economic factors, gender issues, etc.). Also part of the discussion are the rights and responsibilities of online writers and commentators, and ethics and professionalism as a form of protection.

Day Three will focus on the tools and mechanisms available for protecting the Asian cyberspace. Daily afternoon sessions will be capped by technical workshops on podcasting and multimedia blogging (for Day 1), wikis and online collaboration tools (Day 2), and tools for anonymizing and getting around filtering, blocking and monitoring (Day 3).

Journalists from the mainstream media are free to attend and cover the conference. A copy of the program can be downloaded here. For the conference concept paper, click here.

A leading proponent of free expression in Southeast Asia, SEAPA was formed in 1998 by some of the region’s most credible, respected, and accomplished journalist groups, including the PCIJ and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) from the Philippines, Thai Journalists’ Association (TJA), and Indonesia’s Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), and Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

21 Responses to Manila conference on freedom of expression in Asian cyberspace

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tibak

April 9th, 2006 at 8:46 pm

hi alecks. this is dennis of business mirror. this IS interesting. thanks for the notification. will ask my editors if they can give me one or two days free so i can attend the conference. best. btw, my email to you’s being blocked. :)

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Manuel L. Quezon III » Bishops’ belated move?

April 10th, 2006 at 12:21 pm

[…] After Holy Week: Manila Conference on freedom of expression in cyberspace. […]

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johnmarzan

April 12th, 2006 at 3:20 pm

http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p=794

Day Two will be devoted to the theme “The Battle for the Internet” featuring sessions on threats and vulnerabilities represented by technology (filtering,, blocking, censorship), laws and regulations (libel and defamation, anti-terrorism and national secuirty laws) affecting the Internet in Asia;

You might find this interesting PCIJ, and i have cross-posted it in my blog too.

Wala na ang Daily Tribune sa Google News

Since March 19 pa. Check it out.

UPDATE: Filtered ba google news search sa PCIJ?

Here’s a google news search on the word “Arroyo” using PCIJ as source.

On the word “Garci”.

“Garcillano”

“Philippines”

The funny thing about the google news results was that when I used the word “garci” as a search item, lumabas ito (‘PCIJ is inciting to sedition’ — Justice Secretary Gonzalez) sa mga resulta.

But when I used “Garcillano” to search the PCIJ blog, hindi lumabas yung “PCIJ is inciting to sedition” na yan, even though the word Garcillano is in the main text of that PCIJ post, katulad nito:

Gonzalez specifically cited the three-hour recording of the allegedly wiretapped conversations of former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. “The fact that it [the PCIJ] kept posting the matter of the Garci tapes is violative of [Republic Act] 4200 (the anti-wiretapping law),” the justice secretary said.

Bakit ganyan?

And the PCIJ have many news articles with the word “Arroyo” in it, pero bakit ito lang ang lumalabas sa google news on the word “Arroyo”?

Sabong in the time of bird flu

One year after her murder, no justice for ‘Erin Brockovich’

Archive for April 2006

Erin Brokovich? Bird Flu? LMAO!

So ang tanong eh, is Google Philippines biased? Are they now coordinating with the Arroyo admin just like the Chinese government is closely working with Google to filter and censor pro-democracy, and other dissident news sources and websites?

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jester-in-exile

April 12th, 2006 at 3:50 pm

johnmarzan,

“So ang tanong eh, is Google Philippines biased? Are they now coordinating with the Arroyo admin just like the Chinese government is closely working with Google to filter and censor pro-democracy, and other dissident news sources and websites?”

you know, john, i don’t think i could put it past them.

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INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » iblog2

April 12th, 2006 at 4:58 pm

[…] The PCIJ blog was only a month old when iblog, the first Philippine blogging summit, was held last year. This year, the PCIJ bloggers won’t be able to participate in iblog2 on Tuesday, April 18, because they will be busy preparing for Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace (April 19-21). […]

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johnmarzan

April 12th, 2006 at 9:00 pm

check this link on the tribune, jester.

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johnmarzan

April 12th, 2006 at 9:51 pm

puro kasi destabilization ang ginagawa ng PCIJ at tribune eh… tuloy nafi-filter at naba-block na ang mga news items nyo ng google news philippines, LOL.

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freewheel

April 14th, 2006 at 6:14 pm

john, at first glance it seems funny. gave myself a moment, and i realized that it is NOT! in fact, it a threat to our rights- access to right and accurate information. i feel, it is NOT simply an innocent manipulation of google’s algorithms rather a deliberate moves on their part to block/filter ‘unpleasant’ (to a client) information for a fee, of course.

paranoia? or a case of unhealthy imagination? well, maybe not. it is so serious a threat that even EU governments notably france and germany are sponsoring development of a search engine ( Quaero) to counter precisely this kind of squid tactics.

“…there is a threat that tomorrow, what is not available online will be invisible to the world”, said, Jacques Chirac, pres. of france.

i dread the day when searching for ‘hello garci’ , ‘mendiola massacre’, and other sections and chapters of the book(s) on infamy our country has, google and other search engines will produce zero result.

to google phils., HOW MUCH?

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Alecks Pabico

April 17th, 2006 at 1:04 pm

Thanks, John. All the more I’m looking forward to the conference’s technical sessions on filtering, blocking, monitoring technologies and how to detect if these are being used on your site…

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jester-in-exile

April 17th, 2006 at 1:26 pm

alecks,

“the conference’s technical sessions on filtering, blocking, monitoring technologies and how to detect if these are being used on your site…”

could we ask that once you find out how that’s done the PCIJ could post some sort of story about it? call it paranoia, but such methods could apply to other blogs and bloggers, if opposition they may be but are not non-journalism-oriented (e.g. the black friday protest movement blog, et cetera). i get the feeling that DOJ secretary gonzales was implying a lot with his “we are studying this” statements about PCIJ as a blog full of “seditious material.”

john,

smacks of orwellian “big brother is watching you,” doesn’t it?

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Alecks Pabico

April 17th, 2006 at 1:38 pm

Don’t worry, Jester. The blog will certainly devote space for the coverage of the conference. We will be gladly posting highlights of the sessions here for the sake of fellow bloggers.

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BY JOVE! » THE SECOND

April 17th, 2006 at 1:47 pm

[…] The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) … two groups close to my heart (and mind)… are behind this great endeavor: “Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace: A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media” […]

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Alecks Pabico

April 17th, 2006 at 5:22 pm

BTW, Jester, the Reporters sans frontieres (Reporters without Borders) came out with its Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents last year. It has a chapter discussing your concerns. Check it out here.

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Manuel L. Quezon III » Flattery for self-preservation

April 18th, 2006 at 6:33 am

[…] Today will be spent at iBlog2, and then advancing work because the next few days will also be devoted to Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace: A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media. So for this week, I won’t be able to do the usual roundups. I’ll focus on putting forward some extracts from a book for discussion, instead. […]

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jester-in-exile

April 19th, 2006 at 8:27 am

In iBlog 2, resource speaker Rebecca Mackinnon mentioned a tool that could show whether, say, google.com.ph is filtering by comparing it against google.com. She showed the tool’s application in the Republic of China blogosphere.

Rather interesting if we find out that google.com.ph is doing that here and if we find out why.

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…My heart’s in Accra » Pacific Ocean - Big

April 19th, 2006 at 8:53 am

[…] I’m enroute to a conference titled “Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace”. As the organizers have pointed out, it’s a good time for the conference – Singapore has recently warned bloggers that they should steer away from electoral politics in their writing, and the speech situation in China and Vietnam continues to be extremely restrictive. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the terrific Asian bloggers I follow through Global Voices and trying to get a sense for the political role of blogs in this part of the world. In Africa, it’s often fairly easy to speak and hard to change reality with your speech – is that as true in Southeast Asia, or is the landscape different? […]

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Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace | Center for Citizen Media: Blog

April 19th, 2006 at 11:05 am

[…] I’m currently at the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference in Manila, Philippines, with other prominent folks from the blogsphere, like Rebecca MacKinnon, Ethan Zuckerman, Jeff Ooi and Steven Gan. You can check out the conference blog for a rundown of presentations on “Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia in Manila to share experiences and discuss needs, threats, trends, and issues of ethics and the emerging roles and responsibilities of bloggers, podcasters and the alternative online media.” […]

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The Unlawyer

April 20th, 2006 at 3:19 am

[…] This isn’t the only blogging-related event being held on Philippine soil this week: check out Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace: A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media. Unlike iBlog2, this three-day event is apparently by invitation only but the relevant materials were kindly posted online too. […]

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Andrew Lih » Blog Archive » Freedom of Expression in Asian Cyberspace

April 21st, 2006 at 7:21 am

[…] This week, I’m in Manila, Phillippines for the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference organized by SEAPA which brings together journalists, activists and NGOs from around the Asia region on how the use the Internet to increase virtual citizen conversations. […]

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Andrew Lih » Blog Archive » Freedom of Expression in Asian Cyberspace

April 27th, 2006 at 5:43 pm

[…] This week, I’m in Manila, Phillippines for the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference organized by SEAPA which brings together journalists, activists and NGOs from around the Asia region on how the use the Internet to increase virtual citizen conversations. […]

Avatar

Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose » Blog Archive » Showmanship as rebellion

July 9th, 2006 at 5:41 pm

[…] Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace: A Conference of Asian Bloggers, Podcasters and Online Media begins today. […]

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