Thông cáo chung của xã hội dân sự Đông Nam Á về Quản trị Internet
Đại diện của 8 tổ chức xã hội dân sự trong khu vực (đến từ Campuchia, Thái Lan, Indonesia, Malaysia) vừa gửi Thông cáo chung kêu gọi các chính phủ cải thiện việc quản lý Internet trong khu vực, sau khi diễn ra Diễn đàn Quản trị Internet khu vực châu Á-Thái Bình Dương 2012 (Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum) tại Tokyo, Nhật Bản (18-20/7/2012). Nhiều kiến nghị cụ thể được gửi đến chính quyền của các quốc gia ASEAN: bảo đảm rằng Tuyên ngôn Nhân quyền ASEAN (sắp được thông qua) bảo vệ quyền tự do ngôn luận và tự do thông tin phù hợp với các chuẩn mực nhân quyền quốc tế; các chính phủ nên cùng nhau ra một cam kết về tôn trọng tự do Internet; không hình sự hóa ngôn luận bày tỏ sự quan tâm chính đáng đến các vấn đề chính trị, xã hội...

Thông cáo chung của xã hội dân sự Đông Nam Á gửi đến Diễn đàn Quản trị Internet khu vực châu Á-Thái Bình Dương 2012 (trích)

Joint Statement of Civil Society Delegates from Southeast Asia to 2012 Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF)

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


We, the undersigned civil society delegates from Southeast Asia who attended and participated in the 2012 Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) on 18-20 July 2012 in Tokyo, Japan, make this statement upon the conclusion of the meeting to highlight the concerns that we raised throughout the forum.

We engaged in this meeting with the objective of raising human rights concerns in relation to the Internet, particularly on issues of freedom of expression and access to information online, as well as the role of civil society in Internet governance and policymaking. We organised two panel discussions, namely “Internet in Asia: Space for Free Expression and Information” and “Civil Society in Internet Governance/Policymaking” during the 2012 APrIGF. Through these panel discussions, as well as in other sessions that we participated in, we raised the following human rights concerns in relation to the Internet:

Increasing censorship and attacks to online expression

The space for free expression on the Internet is shrinking. Many governments are extending censorship and control of traditional media to the Internet. In most cases, censorship measures are implemented in a nontransparent manner, which makes it difficult to determine whether the measures taken are in accordance with international laws and standards.

In some countries, citizens who make use of the free space on the internet as bloggers, citizen journalists or social media users become targets of attacks, arrest, and/or threats by state security agents. These actions by state authorities produce a chilling effect on internet users resulting in widespread self-censorship of social and political expression for fear of reprisals from the government or its agents.

We thus call upon all governments to ensure that any measure to limit freedom of expression and the right to information are in accordance with international human rights laws and standards, particularly Article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which allows for limitations only on narrow and clearly-defined grounds, by passing the “three-part, cumulative test” following the principles of necessity, proportionality (ensuring that it is the least restrictive measure) and transparency. Furthermore, any limitation to freedom of expression, including censorship measures, must be determined by an independent judicial body, and not left to the arbitrary powers of governments or intermediaries. These parameters must apply in all circumstances including during state of emergency and in name of national security or public order.

New laws and legislative amendments that curb freedom of speech online

We are further alarmed by the growing number of laws and policies in Southeast Asia that negatively impact freedom of expression on the Internet. While we recognise the need to address cybercrime and legitimate national security concerns, we are concerned that such laws seek to extend media censorship and criminal defamation to the internet, and are also being used to criminalize individuals or organizations expressing or sharing legitimate social or political critique.

We reiterate that any restriction to freedom of expression on the Internet must not risk citizens’ rights to hold opinions without interference and to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as stipulated in Article 18 of the ICCPR, and it must not be subject to lawful derogation as outlined in UN General Comment No. 34. We stress that any introduction of new laws or legislative amendments, particularly those that could potentially impact human rights, must involve extensive, inclusive and meaningful public consultations. We further urge all governments in Southeast Asia to decriminalise defamation both online and offline.

Additionally, we emphasize that the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary remain among the key challenges to democracy in Southeast Asia. Law-enforcement agencies and justice systems must presume innocence until defendants are proven guilty, regardless of whether or not defamation is criminal. Certain legislation, including those laws that criminalize online speech and expression, are worth noting here as examples of legislation in Southeast Asia that warrant close monitoring of their enactment or enforcement:

  • Burma – The 2004 Electronic Transactions Act
  • Cambodia – The 2012 Draft Cyber-Law, the 1995 Press Law, and the 2010 Penal Code
  • Malaysia – The 2012 Amendment to the Evidence Act and the 2011 Computing Professionals Bill
  • Indonesia – The 2008 Law on Information and Electronic Transaction and the 2008 Law on Pornography
  • The Philippines – The 2012 Data Privacy Act
  • Thailand – The 2007 Computer Crimes Act, the Article 112 of the Penal Code, and the 2004 Special Case Investigation Act
  • Vietnam – The 1999 Penal Code, the 2004 Publishing Law, the 2000 State Secrets Protection Ordinance, and the 2012 Draft Decree on Internet Management

Intermediary liability

We express our deep concern over the increasing pressures by governments on internet service providers and content hosts to monitor, regulate and censor online content. Consequently, such intermediaries are increasingly being held legally and criminally liable for online content, including content posted by other users.

We reiterate that the regulation of content on the Internet should be determined by an independent judicial body, and not be left to intermediaries. We further echo the call by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression that intermediaries should not be held liable for online content.

Violations by non-State actors, including those employed by governments

Finally, we are alarmed at the rise of internet vigilante groups acting on behalf of governments or powerful institutions to help monitor sensitive information posted over the Internet through personal websites and social media. Such groups often target persons expressing unpopular opinions and subject them to abusive behaviour and threats. In some cases, such threats have been carried out off-line in the form of discriminatory treatment, physical attacks and even state prosecution of these targets. In addition, critical and independent websites are frequently being targeted for hacking and DDoS attacks.

We strongly remind all governments that it is their primary obligation to promote and protect human rights, and this includes protecting its citizens’ exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression from violations by non-state actors online.


Recommendations to Southeast Asian governments

In addition, we make the following specific recommendations to our respective governments in Southeast Asia:

  • ASEAN governments must ensure that the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration explicitly and unequivocally protects the right to freedom of expression and freedom of information in accordance with international human rights laws and standards.
  • ASEAN governments should issue a joint statement to pronounce their commitment to uphold Internet freedom.
  • All regional governments should involve civil society meaningfully and inclusively in Internet policymaking, especially in drafting laws and policies that potentially impact human rights, including in regional-policy arena that involve the issues related to ICT and internet governance, such as:
    • Regional economic integration by 2015 under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The AEC’s areas of cooperation include a focus on internet governance, such as: “enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity”; and “development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN”. Currently, the AEC encourages only business sector participation and not civil society.
    • The ASEAN CIO Forum under the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2015 also opens participation only to business sectors. The forum focuses on CIO16 and its objective is to “Taking leadership in collaboration and transformation for a competitive, highly productive and envisage a concrete/positive ASEAN ICT community.” The master plan aims to minimize digital divide and make ICT in the region be empowering, transformational, inclusive, vibrant, and integrated for the people by 2015.
  • All regional governments should attend and engage in regional IGFs to dialogue with other stakeholders, including civil society, on regional issues concerning the Internet.

Signed by:


Thai Netizen Network
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 87 504 2221

Pirongrong RAMASOOTA
Thai Media Policy Center
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 89 770 8911

Triana DYAH
Head, Information & Documentation Division
The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM)
Jakarta, Indonesia
Tel: +62 21 7972662, 79192564
Fax: +62 21 79192519

Alerts & Communication officer
Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 8 1116 5137
Fax: +66 2 2448749

Sean ANG
Executive Director
Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media (SEACeM)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 2284 3367
Fax: +60 3 2289 2579

Victorius (Ndaru) EPS
Jakarta, Indonesia

Communication Coordinator
Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: (855) 66 777 010
Fax: (855) 23 211 723

Sovathana (Nana) NEANG
Phnom Penh, Cambodia;

YAP Swee Seng
Executive Director
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUMASIA)
Tel: +66 81 868 9178
Fax: +66 2 6379128




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