Defending digital rights in Southeast Asia
The Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) was established on 27 June 2013 in line with the increasing criminalisation of expression in the digital arena in Southeast Asia. From our initial activities of monitoring, advocacy, and solidarity on freedom of expression on the Internet, since 2018 SAFEnet has expanded its work to defend digital rights, including the right to Internet access, the right to freely express ourselves, and the right to safety in digital spaces.
SAFEnet has consistently advocated for victims of digital rights violations and been active in advocating for Internet policies to include human rights perspectives. Since 2019, SAFEnet has also provided holistic security training (physical, psychosocial, and digital) for vulnerable groups in Indonesia and Southeast Asia to build their resilience towards increasingly common digital repression.
Legally, SAFEnet became a legally established organisation in January 2019 under the name Perkumpulan Pembela Kekebebasan Asia Tenggara (Southeast Asian Freedom Defenders Association), located in Denpasar, Bali. SAFEnet now has 40 members in more than 20 cities across Indonesia and has networks with civil society organisations in Southeast Asia as well as internationally.
SAFEnet’s members come from a wide array of backgrounds, and include journalists, bloggers, housewives, LGBTQ people, private sector workers, digital security experts, and many others.
SAFEnet’s vision is the realisation of a digital space that upholds human rights values for all. To achieve this vision, SAFEnet describes its mission as defending for digital rights, including the right to Internet access, the right to free expression, and the right to safety in digital spaces.
In its efforts to fight for digital rights, SAFEnet implements four main programs: policy advocacy to support the fulfilment of digital rights; support for victims of digital rights violations; capacity building for civil society on digital rights; and solidarity for civil society who are fighting for human rights in digital spaces.