In an effort to continue exploring the interlinkages between digital justice, bodily autonomy and the limitations of using the criminalization as a response to online GBV, we convened a few feminist digital rights activists for a transnational conversation on how access, expression and violence on the internet are experienced by women and queer and trans people in their countries. This event was organized virtually at the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) which was held from 27th- 30th September.
The activists represented Body and Data (Nepal), Hashtag Generation (Sri Lanka,) FLAME (Taiwan), Kryss Network (Malaysia) and RESURJ. The discussions connected the links between the governments’ increased use of criminal law to regulate behavior online and the implications this has for freedom of expression, especially for communities who are marginalized on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, class, migrant status, etc. and have limited access to online spaces to begin with.
The convening, which was attended by over 100 participants, went further to unpack how macroeconomic ideologies and the platform economy enable and thrive on online gender-based violence, misinformation and hate speech in countries and the role of platform companies in regulating and protecting freedom of expression.
The session further unpacked the different strategies that go beyond laws, policies and content moderation, and offer new ways of reclaiming the internet as a common space in which meaningful access is defined by how free, vibrant and free of violence all persons in all diversities can be online.