Increasing attention is being paid to the manipulation of the information environment in Southeast Asia by state and non-actors to sway public opinion, divide societies, intensify ethnic tension, and provoke public fear, hatred, and violence.
This problem is compounded by
limitations on freedom of expression and entrenched media monopolies in many ASEAN states.
Civil society organizations and independent media face numerous safety and security issues when trying to counter disinformation and propaganda, especially if it runs against the interests of the authorities within their countries.
Despite these significant risks, many organizations, journalists, and advocates are now able to leverage expanding access to technology and the internet across the region to engage new audiences.
The Public Affairs Section of the U. S. Embassy Rangoon of the U. S. Department of State announce an open competition for a cooperative agreement to develop and implement a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Regional Workshop on Countering Online Disinformation and Hate Speech in Southeast Asia.
This workshop will bring together young civil society activists, communicators, educators, journalists, social media representatives and policymakers interested in finding new ways to address the disinformation and propaganda problem in Southeast Asia.
Special attention in the program will be given to the situation in Myanmar and how it is being portrayed within ASEAN.
The main element of the program will be a three-day workshop to be held in Thailand.
The awarding of this NOFO is pending an availability of funding.
Please carefully follow all instructions below.
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Timor-Leste.
YSEALI is the U. S. government’s signature initiative to engage emerging leaders in Southeast Asia.
The program aims to create a network of young Southeast Asian leaders who work across national borders to solve common problems.
Through a variety of programs and engagements, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture a community of leaders who work across borders to solve shared issues.
YSEALI is open to young leaders ages 18-35 who are both citizens and residents of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries (Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) or Timor-Leste.
Responding to priorities from youth in the ASEAN region, YSEALI programs focus on four themes (Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment and Social Entrepreneurship, Education and Environmental Issues).
One component of YSEALI is the annual Regional Workshops held across Southeast Asia on strategic topics.
This workshop examines the critical role that social media play in promoting peace and enhancing access to information, contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 1 6. 10) which calls for ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.
Technology advancements have altered how individuals connect with one another and seek out, receive, and impart knowledge globally.
Instead of just being passive consumers of material and information, social media empowers users to become producers of both.
There is no denying the importance of those developments, yet the effects can be diverse.
Thus, social media's influence and ability in producing violent or peaceful social and political change have come under closer investigation in recent years.
On the one hand, social media is being utilized to boost civic engagement and make information more accessible, enabling people to organize significant, nonviolent political movements across continents, either in response to political issues or to particular thematic concerns.
On the other hand, it is also being used to polarize society, manipulate through micro targeting, disseminate, and magnify false information and propaganda, foster intolerance, and even to fan the flames of hatred and war, posing fresh dangers to peace and stability.
The workshop will bring together participants and speakers for three full days in in May 2024 in Thailand and three virtual training sessions, with proposed activities fitting into three buckets of interrelated objectives: