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TrustCon 2023: “Reducing Misinformation and Other Harms: A Conversation with Global South Non-profit Organizations”

Event: July 11, 2023, San Francisco

The Asia Foundation Convenes Pioneering Panel on Connectivity for Vulnerable Groups

Trust and safety professionals worldwide are anticipating TrustCon 2023, a global conference focused on the safety of online platforms and communities. This year, The Asia Foundation is hosting a panel on July 11, 2023, entitled “Reducing Misinformation and Other Harms: A Conversation with Global South Non-profit Organizations” to provide an important dimension in understanding the complexities of the threat landscape.

Effective prevention of online harm requires collaboration and partnership among a diverse group of companies, governments, and organizations. Working on the front lines of digital safety, nonprofits – often operating under challenging political conditions – have played a crucial role in bridging gaps to address online harms. Providing the perspective from different corners of the Global South, the panel features four distinguished experts, including:

Jonathan Ong is an associate professor of Global Digital Media at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. His research focuses on global media ethics, digital politics, and the anthropology of humanitarianism. He has authored three books and over 25 journal articles, utilizing ethnography to understand the social identities and work arrangements of “paid trolls” and political public relations strategists in disinformation studies. Jonathan is renowned for his collaboration with humanitarian and human rights organizations, and his popular podcast, “Catch Me If You Can,” gained recognition as one of Spotify’s Top 5% Most Followed Podcasts globally in 2022.

Tilak Prasad Pathak is the executive director of the Center for Media Research Nepal (CMR Nepal), a research-oriented think tank with a strong commitment to freedom of expression and ethical media practices. Working closely with The Asia Foundation, as a partner organization in Nepal, CMR is one of the implementers for USAID’s Civil Society and Media Activity (CSM) in Nepal. Mr. Pathak has also been involved in research on Provincial Misinformation Monitoring and the Nepal Misinformation Landscape. He has co-authored several books/research reports, including Press and Civic Freedom Index (2022), Shrinking Media Space (2022), and Media Coverage of Nepali Labor Migrants During Covid-19 Pandemic (2020).

Mochamad Mustafa is the program director for Democracy and Governance at The Asia Foundation in Indonesia, with over 15 years of development experience. As the program director, he leads a portfolio of programs that promote tolerance, peace, freedom of religion and beliefs, democratic resilience, inclusive democracy, and digital literacy for micro and small enterprises. Most recently, he spearheaded a program to train influencers in vulnerable communities to act as citizen journalists and counter-message misinformation directly in their community. Mustafa’s expertise extends to critical areas such as gender equality, women’s empowerment, local governance, sociopolitical issues, regulatory reform, counter-violence extremism, freedom of religion and beliefs, and tolerance promotion.

Prihesh Ratnayake, the head of Social Media Analysis at Hashtag Generation, collaborates closely with The Asia Foundation as a partner organization in Sri Lanka. Leading a passionate team of socially conscious Sri Lankans, Prihesh drives Hashtag Generation’s movement for meaningful civic and political engagement, with a particular focus on empowering youth. Leveraging the power of social and new media tools, they raise awareness and foster dialogue on critical social issues and pioneered efforts to develop a comprehensive approach for analyzing harmful speech online. Their impactful initiatives encompass promoting youth participation in decision-making, strengthening women’s civic and political engagement, and combating cyber threats such as misinformation and online hate speech.

Amelinda Pandu Kusumaningtyas is a research coordinator at the Center for Digital Society at Universitas Gadjah Mada, specializing in studying misinformation, disinformation, social changes, challenges in the digital era, and everyday feminism. She holds vast expertise in combatting misinformation prevalent in Indonesia. Her project portfolio encompasses a range of significant endeavors, such as Social Media 4 Peace and Social Media Content Moderation in Indonesia, Public Perception on Covid-19 Vaccine, Teenage-related Cyberbullying Cases in Indonesia, and Integrity of Election Ads and Campaigns on Social Media.

The panel is organized by The Asia Foundation’s Digital Technology, Policy, and Innovation team. To learn more about our work, please contact Toni Friedman at [email protected].

For more information, visit TSPA. 

Related programs: Technology & Development

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