Open Southeast Asia – enhancing participation and transparency through the use of open data and social media in Southeast Asia?
In recent years topics like Open Data, Open Government and Civic Tech have gained increasing attention throughout Southeast Asia. More and more data of the public sector is made commonly accessible which enables civil society actors to use open data for their own aims. Increasing claims for open data are based on the assumption that more open access to data results in higher transparency, innovation and cooperation. Some countries in Southeast Asia – like Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, East Timor and Malaysia – are found on lower ranks in the global Open Data Index, whereas others, like Indonesia and the Philippines already take part in the Open Government Partnership programme. In this regard, some common trends can be observed throughout the region: There are various kinds of restrictions and limitations regarding internet access, freedom of speech, freedom of specific information laws and open government guidelines.
On global scale the use of social media is comparatively high in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia and Thailand. Since the ‘Arab Spring’, social media have been discussed as enhancing democracy, although recent studies conclude that there is no clear correlation between the use of social media and processes of democratization. Therefore, social media are not the source of a revolution, but they are able to significantly support network building and the spread of information. Access to the internet and to social media may therefore support democratization processes. Furthermore, it may help to deconstruct hierarchies in the allocation of knowledge and strengthen civil society. However, in contrast to Egypt, Tunisia and Europe the role of social media related to aspects of civil organization, governance and participation have not yet been discussed in detail for Southeast Asian countries.
This journal issue should serve as a short introduction to the broad aforementioned topics. However, we are not focusing on theoretical explanations. First and foremost, we would like to present examples of empowerment and participation through open data and social media in Southeast Asia, and Germany. Moreover, contemporary processes of relations between Germany and Southeast Asia should be critically presented and discussed. In this hindsight, we would like to debate the following questions:
- Which potential for mobilization and which dangers come along with open data and social media for social movements and civil organisation?
- How can relations and obligations between policy-makers, civil society organizations, and marginalized communities be portrayed in both Germany and Southeast Asia, when using open data?
- How can civil society organizations orientate or shift their work towards using open data? Where are untapped potentials?
Specifications for submitting articles
Articles should be 1 page (up to 3,800 characters including spaces), 2 pages (up to 6,900 characters including spaces) or 3 pages (up to 11,000 characters including spaces) and, if possible, should include commented photographs (please clarify copyright issues before handing in articles) as well as short self-introductions of the authors. Please do not use any text formatting. Authors from Southeast Asia are most welcome.
Please submit articles by 30th June 2017.
Frank Arenz (email@example.com) and Kristina Großmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)