About Fake News, Censorship and Politics: The Social Media Revolution in Southeast Asia

Social media is booming in Southeast Asia with average penetration rates now exceeding 60%. This is having a profound impact on the media environment - and politics. Social media can be used both as a tool for the empowerment of citizens, and a means of sowing division and even religious extremism. What is the relationship between social media and democratic resilience in Southeast Asia?

This panel examines these questions with particular attention to two case studies: Indonesia and Cambodia. In Indonesia, the power of social media has remedied cases of gross injustice and excesses by authorities. At the same time it has spurred the rise of identity politics and political polarisation. In Cambodia as citizens become more connected social media is becoming a more potent means of criticizing the Hun Sen-led authoritarian government on social justice and human rights issues. Limitations remain, however, on social media’s capacity to significantly challenge the regime.

Join a dynamic panel of discussants from the Lowy Institute for International Policy and UQ School of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) for a fascinating discussion on the impact of social media on Southeast Asia’s contemporary politics.

Panelists include:

  • Ben Bland, Director SE Asia Project, Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Dr Melissa Curley, Senior Lecturer UQ-POLSIS
  • Ahmad Rizky Mardhatillah Umar, PhD Candidate, UQ-POLSIS
  • Sreang Cheat, PhD Candidate UQ-POLSIS

Moderator: Dr Greta Nabbs-Keller, Research Fellow Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific, Centre for Policy Futures

SE Asia Forum Convenor: Dr Patrick Jory, Senior Lecturer in Southeast Asian History, School of History and Philosophical Inquiry

This event is a joint initiative of the UQ Centre for Policy Futures and School of History and Philosophical Inquiry.


Sir Llew Edwards Building (14)
Campbell Road
Room 132, Level 1