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Journalism and Democracy in the Age of Pandemic and Disinformation

The Press Freedom index released by Reporters Without Borders in April 2021 shows a poor portrait of press freedom in three-quarters of the 180 countries evaluated. Journalism in some region is completely blocked. This condition worsens the people’s right to obtain verified information. 

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam is ranked the lowest in terms of press freedom, while Timor Leste is at the top with a press freedom index score of 29.11 points. Indonesia, Malaysia, followed after Timor Leste with index scores of 37.4 and 39.47, respectively. Thailand and the Philippines are under Malaysia with scores of 45.22 and 45.64. 

This bad portrait of press freedom occurs along with the flood of disinformation. UNESCO suspected that the flood of disinformation occurred along with the explosion of the pandemic. Ironically, on behalf of anticipating COVID-19 disinformation, a number of countries have actually released policies that suppress press freedom. In fact, journalism is the best vaccine against disinformation, and the fight against disinformation will strengthen the resilience of a country’s democracy.

Democracy is a means for people to be able to choose their representatives and leaders and allows them to monitor or evaluate their performance. This is only possible if the public can get reliable information.

The suppression of press freedom will deprive people of the opportunity to obtain reliable information and will indirectly hinder the democratic process of a country.

Based on that, the Indonesian Association for Media Development (Perhimpunan Pengembangan Media Nusantara/PPMN), under The Asia-Pacific Regional Support for Elections and Political Transitions (RESPECT) program,  will  conduct regional webinars and workshops on press freedom and democracy, with the topic: “Journalism and Democracy in the Age of Pandemic and Disinformation.”

It is series at which you are invited and can be present at all four events at once. You may choose to sign up for more than one of the most exciting events for you.

Sign up now because the seat is limited!

Wednesday, September 22nd 2021

Workshop: Grassroots Democracy: Citizen Journalism Practices in Southeast Asia


  1. Danilo Caspe – CCIM Executive Director (Cambodia) 
  2. Maran Perianen – Cj.my Managing Editor (Malaysia)

Facilitator:  Citra Dyah Prastuti, KBR chief editor (Indonesia)

This workshop for activist and journalists will discuss on how public participations work in citizen journalism for election monitoring and contribute for democracy process in their countries.

Link Registration: https://bit.ly/PPMNWorkshop2 

 Thursday, September 23rd 2021

Webinar: Journalism and Democracy in the Age of Pandemic and Disinformation


  1. Gemma B. Mendoza, Rappler Head of Digital Strategy, (Philippines) 
  2. Anita Wahid, Mafindo Member of Presidium (Indonesia) 
  3. Zikri Kamarulzaman, Malaysiakini News Editor (Malaysia)

Moderator: Dinita A.Putri, Luminate Principal SEA (Indonesia) 

Speakers will discuss about the democratic situation in their respective countries, including threats to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and how civil society could tackle this situation.

Link Registration: https://bit.ly/PPMNWebinar2 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (The Webinar was held)

Webinar: “The Challenge of Reporting Politics and Election in the Disinformation Era”


  1. Carmella S.Fonbuena, PCIJ Executive Director (Philippines) 
  2. Yandrie Arvian, Tempo Executive Editor (Indonesia) 
  3. Hathairat Phaholtap, The Isaan Record Thai Editor (Thailand)

Moderator:  Anthony Lee, Kompas Daily journalist (Indonesia)

This session will discuss the challenges faced by media in reporting and producing journalistic works on political and elections issues in the midst of disinformation flood. Each speaker will talk specifically about challenges in their respective countries and what impact that made changes in their news room operation in order to overcome these challenges.

Link Registration: https://bit.ly/PPMNWebinar1

Thursday, September 16th 2021 (The Workshop was held)

Workshop: Data Journalism on Election Reporting 

Registration Closed!

Speaker/Trainer: Kuek Ser Kuang Keng, founder of Data-N (Malaysia) 

Facilitator: Wan Ulfa Nur Zahra, founder of IDJN (Indonesia).

This workshop will give knowledge and skill on data journalism for journalists, so they know how to use the data, especially related to election on their news stories. In this session, trainer will also ask participants to use some data sets in Datatalk.asia for their practices.

Link Registration: https://bit.ly/PPMNWorkshop1 (Registration closed)