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Civil society organisations, engineers, activists, lawyers, companies and governments will join together in Manila on 24-25 March to address the subject of the internet and human rights in this rapidly evolving region, in an effort to protect the open internet and defend the digital rights of its users.

This year’s RightsCon Southeast Asia event has been convened by Access, APC member EngageMedia, and local host and APC member Foundation for Media Alternatives, in partnership with the World Wide Web Foundation.

Located in a rapidly evolving technology and civil society space, RightsCon Southeast Asia will:

  • Highlight emerging threats and opportunities, allowing governments, companies and civil society to share lessons, consider new perspectives, and mitigate upcoming challenges.
  • Bring companies face to face with users to ensure that products and services meet the unique needs of a diverse set of users.
  • Provide an opportunity for Southeast Asian civil society actors in the technology and media fields to establish and deepen their networks, creating opportunities for collaboration.
  • Provide companies and governments with principled and pragmatic guidance on implementing human rights in policy and practice.
  • Build strategies and partnerships across stakeholder groups, for future collaboration.

RightsCon Southeast Asia will include a mix of interactive and participant-driven sessions that explore the following themes:

  • Protecting rights online in the age of surveillance
  • Technology and infrastructure interdependence
  • Digital rights and economic development
  • Freedom of information and open data
  • Tech solutions for human rights challenges
  • Limiting and measuring risk in the ICT sector.

Many APC members and staff will be attending the event as well as organising sessions. These are some of them:

Tuesday 24 March

9:00 Opening ceremony: Foundation for Media Alternatives and Association for Progressive Communications staff will speak in the ceremony.

10:00 Digital tools to evade surveillance – Bytes for All

10:00 Not too inaccessible for broadband: Connecting remote communities with wireless spectrum – Digital Empowerment Foundation

10:00 Panel: Is IT more fun in the Philippines? PH’s struggle for a free and open internet – Foundation for Media Alternatives

14:00 Connecting the dots: How to strengthen the work of internet rights advocates – Regional Networking & Organising Internet Democracy Project, Foundation for Media Alternatives

15:30 Building bridges: Social justice advocates and digital rights – Abundance Foundation, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Research Action Design

15:30 Challenges and opportunities for migrant worker protection in the electronics supply chain – BSR, EngageMedia, CorpWatch

17:00 Research and privacy: Challenges, methodologies and tools – Association for Progressive Communications, Research Action Design, Tactical Tech Collective

Wednesday 25 March

9:15 Cyber Sex(y): Sexual speech, privacy and freedom of expression – APC EROTICS

10:45 Women’s access to justice in the digital age – Foundation for Media Alternatives

14:00 The right to access the internet: Upholding a human right – Democracy.Net, Digital Empowerment Foundation

Information on panelists

Information about RightsCon sessions is available here, or you can download the programme here.

Key issues

  • The internet rights space in the region is currently fragmented, with insufficient communication and coordination between groups, resulting in decreased effectiveness.
  • The burgeoning tech sector and the myriad of new companies and startups, some with millions of users, are often unaware of the human rights implications of their platforms.
  • Uncritical use of technologies is putting civil society actors in danger. There is a great need for activists to be aware of the threats and risks attached to the use of certain technologies.
  • There is a lack of regional technology alternatives to whom local users have the opportunity to seek redress.
  • Country-based content filtering and surveillance have a chilling effect on expression and innovation.
  • Societal pressures are impacting policy and affecting the ability of individuals and groups to exercise their freedom of speech and expression online.

More information at

Download the programme agenda, and check out the programme highlights for more information on the sessions taking place at RightsCon.

There are numerous satellite events that are taking place ahead of RightsCon, beginning Saturday 21 March, and some satellite events are also being planned for after the conference.

Follow the event on Twitter: #rightscon @rightscon

Institutional Twitter handles: @APC_News, @genderitorg

Follow our members on Twitter: @bytesforall, @FMA_PH, @Colnodo, @EngageMedia

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