In 2019, Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN) selected social Media and disinformation as the common challenges across Asia that continue to plague and work against deepening the quality of democracy.

Against this background, ADRN published this special report to evaluate the current state of social media and the spread of disinformation in the region by studying the phenomenon and its impact within the country, as well as the country's responses.

The report investigates pressing, contemporary questions such as: Who are the major disinformation disseminators/which issue areas/who are targeted/effects of disinformation? What are the current legal and political efforts to combat against disinformation by government, lawmakers, media, and CSOs? What are the different methods of disinformation applied towards different linguistic communities in the same country? What are the public figures’ use of personal social media accounts to engage with the public/and its impact in society?

Drawing on a rich array of resources and data, this report offers country-specific analyses, highlights areas of improvement, and suggests policy recommendations for ensuring the protection of social media and online platform from the spread of disinformation in Asia.


Quotes from the Paper 

“People know that social media platforms are not a neutral utility but rather a commercial tool that exploits their unpaid digital labor and monetizes the content and data they generate. Nevertheless, using social media has become a way of life for people living a digitally connected world. Expressing and sharing political information and opinions is one key aspect of this digital way of life. Accordingly, researchers have begun to pay attention to the role of social media in democracy.” – East Asia Institute


“In the Philippines, there is no specific policy measure that addresses the production and proliferation of fake news. Instead, there is an umbrella law called the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or the

Republic Act 10175 which prohibits violations of the existing Revised Penal Code using computers and other information and communications technologies. (…) While other democracies have placed libel and defamation under the ambit of civil law, these infractions remain under the Revised Penal Code in the Philippines. However, there are also advocacy efforts to decriminalize libel.” –Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance & International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance


“The democratic discourse encompassing pluralistic views on social media platforms remains a concern in a country like India, characterized by the slow growth of internet

penetration and a lower relative degree of digital literacy. Nevertheless, it is vital to remember that

electoral processes online are a subset within the larger democratic discourse of the real world. (…) Addressing such a problem in the longer run may result in curbing social media usage.” – Participatory Research in Asia



Various researchers from Japan Center for International Exchange, Academy of Political Education, East Asia Institute, Asian Barometer, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Center for Political Studies, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Yangon School of Political Science, Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance, International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance, King Prajadhipok’s Institute, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Participatory Research in Asia, Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency, Samata Foundation and Verité Research contributed to the research and writing of each report.

EAI provided support in the form of typesetting and proofreading for the production of the reports.



■ Typeset by Jinkyung Baek, Research Associate/Director, Research Department

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Center for Democracy Cooperation

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Democracy Cooperation

Asia Democracy Research Network

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