June 17, 2022

In this edition, we highlight films tackling online freedom of expression in Indonesia and Thailand, plus moving stories on the preservation of music and poetry in an Indian community and a mother's love for her transsexual daughter.

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‘Lara Beragama di Mayantara' (The Hurtful Religious Cyberspace)’

Digital technologies have made it possible for people to freely express their beliefs and opinions to wider audiences. But in reality, Indonesians who express their religious beliefs online are often the targets of hate speech, especially if they adhere to indigenous religions.

Lara Beragama di Mayantara (The Hurtful Religious Cyberspace) follows the story of Sapta Darma and Aliran Kebatinan Perjalanan as they continue to experience religious-based discrimination. Produced by EngageMedia and WatchDoc, the documentary scrutinises the struggles of minoritised religious groups and describes why the situation has continued to this day.

The short documentary is part of the Challenge project in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Its release coincides with APC's campaign from June 17-18 to counter hate speech.

Producer: EngageMedia and WatchDoc


‘She’s My Son’

Sugania's mother was heartbroken when her son left home. But when Sugania returns, she has become her true self: a woman. Despite criticism, she strives to live life normally as a transwoman with her mother’s love and acceptance.

The documentary She’s My Son, which follows the story of a Malaysian transsexual woman and her mother, won in the 2007 FreedomFilmFest human rights film competition.

Director: Indrani Kopal


‘Right to Know Episode 8: A Talking Drum Finds Refuge on the Internet’

Twenty generations of the Khan family in India have played the Bhapang or ‘talking drum’, but the rapid urbanisation of their village has seen a decline in their music and poetry. Few remain who can transfer the songs of their ancestors to the next generations. Through the internet, they have found refuge for their culture.

Right to Know - India's rural internet avant-garde is a documentary series that takes an ethnographic look at how the internet is impacting communities in regional and rural India. The series visits 14 villages throughout nine districts across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar.

Producer: Andrew Garton (Secession Films) with the support of the Digital Empowerment Foundation


‘Computer Crime Act: Restricting Digital Rights, Silencing Online Critics’

Despite its amendment in 2017, Thailand’s Computer Crime Act retains many problematic and vaguely-worded provisions that restrict people's freedom of expression online. What needs to be done to safeguard digital rights?

This video presents the key findings of a report produced by EngageMedia in partnership with the Asia Centre.

Producer: EngageMedia