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ASEAN-Australia Counter-Terrorism Workshop

January 30 @ 8:00 am January 31 @ 5:00 pm

Bali, Indonesia, 30-31 January 2024 – The Initiative to Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence (INITIATE.MY) participated in the ASEAN-Australia Counter-Terrorism Workshop. This event focused on Good Practice Approaches to Countering Violent Extremism, Hate Speech, and Disinformation Online. It was co-hosted by the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC)-Indonesia and Australia and facilitated by the Asia Foundation.

The workshop addressed the growing concern of online hate speech, disinformation, and violent extremist content in Southeast Asia, which have seen a significant rise over recent years. These dangerous narratives, easily disseminated through accessible social media and technology platforms have posed a risk of radicalisation, particularly to vulnerable communities and groups.

The workshop brought together representatives from diverse sectors, including technology and social media companies, and relevant civil society organisations from ASEAN member states and beyond. Discussions centred on sharing experiences and recommendations to tackle the misuse of the internet for radicalisation and violent extremism, balancing security needs with human rights considerations.

Aizat Shamsuddin, Founder of INITIATE.MY, contributed to the panel on ‘The Role of Social Media Companies, Civil Society, and Public-Private-People Partnerships’. He highlighted trends in Malaysia where online dissemination of hate and extreme narratives often escalates during political events and controversies related to race and religion. These narratives risk transitioning from online spaces to real-world actions, including boycotts, rallies, and violent attacks.

Aizat emphasised INITIATE.MY’s commitment to multi-sectoral partnerships in preventing violent extremism, including research and sharing findings with law enforcement and social media companies. He stressed the importance of cross-sector collaboration, urging for dynamic engagement under the National Plan of Action on Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism (NAPPCVE), led by the Home Affairs Ministry, to effectively preserve social harmony and prevent radicalisation.

The ASEAN-Australia Counter-Terrorism Workshop organised by the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC)-Indonesia and Australia and facilitated by the Asia Foundation.