Policy Brief No.180 - November, 2023 • By Qamar Jafri
This policy brief seeks answers to the question “How are activists using social media to bring political change in Myanmar and Pakistan?” It examines the activism of political and civil society activists on social media in countries where anti-democratic forces including an alliance of military and right-wing political factions are dominating political affairs. These forces have kept tight control over traditional media (television, print) by silencing the voices of common people using force and violence. However, social media has empowered pro-civilian rule activists to raise their voices and has helped to mobilise the public in favour of political change in their societies. The policy brief explains the methods, strategies, and their impact on political and social space in Pakistani and Myanmar societies.
Policy Brief No.179 - November, 2023 • By Zakira Rasooli
This Policy Brief delves into the paramount significance of social media in contemporary warfare, shedding light on the critical need for effective measures to counter online radical narratives and prevent the spread of violent extremism. It explores how autocratic and repressive groups like the Taliban exploit social media platforms to their advantage and how these platforms have become a fertile ground for violent extremist groups to establish a novel front in warfare by allowing them to directly engage with civilians and the public, thus effectively closing civic space. This paper argues for heightened vigilance and proactive measures to counter misinformation, glorification of violence, and radicalisation online, ultimately safeguarding the integrity of information dissemination and societal well-being.
Policy Brief No.165 - August, 2023 • By Jody Oetzel
This Policy Brief places ‘rainbow-washing’, or utilizing LGBTQ+ imagery for commercial ends, in a broader conversation of hashtag activism and considers when these displays represent authentic allyship as opposed to performative activism. While rainbow-washing is most frequently observed in an American context, global displays of Pride-themed brand activism in India and the Philippines are also considered. The Policy Brief ends with recommendations for consumers and corporate entities to prevent the co-optation and commercialization of LGBTQ+ symbolism.
Policy Brief No.163 - July, 2023 • By Sean Raming
This Policy Brief examines the practice of organisations, ranging from violent extremist groups to the US Army, of using online gaming for recruiting purposes. Online gaming is a popular form of entertainment among the world’s youth. The Policy Brief describes why recruiting in online gaming should be understood as a more general problem, involving any armed group recruiting online, which has simple solutions. It then presents several concepts from peacebuilding that can be applied to counter recruiting efforts in online gaming.
Policy Brief No.160 - June, 2023 • By Rawand Faeq
This Policy Brief examines the influence of international political actors in perpetuating disinformation in fragile states. The study delves into the history of disinformation in Iraq, particularly during and after the fall of the Baathist regime, and investigates how national and international actors utilise disinformation as a political tool. Three case studies focus on the overlapping interests of regional, international, and local actors. The findings contribute to a better understanding of disinformation dynamics, enabling more effective strategies to combat disinformation and foster informed and democratic societies.