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COVID-19 in Asia: Communication, Nationalism and Technology

February 26 - August 15

COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, following the first infections detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then, the number of infected cases and death rates have increased exponentially. Governments have introduced emergency and temporary laws, placed their citizens and residents within their jurisdictions under lockdowns, implemented stay-at-home orders, enforced social distancing and closed their borders. The COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to interrupting global and national economic activities and halting cross-border movements, has exposed the weakness of global health monitoring systems and put pressure on national public health infrastructures.

In this environment, the difficulties in tackling disinformation and misinformation – including about the virus and responses to it –  have been compounded by the inordinate amount of online communication. Contact tracing, digital identification technology and surveillance have led to concerns about privacy. The pandemic has also generated inward-looking nationalism as countries, including big powers, increasingly look within for independent sustainability.  ‘Vaccine nationalism’ has reared its ugly head as countries race to demonstrate their technological prowess by being the first to develop one, to manage the resulting intellectual property rights and to acquire enough stocks for their own populations.  It has fostered unprecedented online interactions leading to changes in ways of working, business transactions and spurred innovations in the digital space. 

By late 2020, countries were experiencing second or third waves of infection and deaths as resumption of some business activity and relaxing of border restrictions became necessary to revive faltering economies. As the COVID-19 pandemic lives on into 2021 and beyond, it is important to understand its impacts – economic, political, social – upon national and international society. In particular, if the pandemic has contributed to accelerating us towards the 5th industrial revolution and its likely impact on politics and society. This conference, taking place one year after the start of the pandemic, seeks to identify these impacts and to search for practical solutions to challenges, which include shrinking democratic space and regression in rights in Asia.


The impact of the pandemic on the following areas will be examined:

  • Online disinformation, fake news and hate speech during the pandemic;
  • Contract tracing, digital identity recognition, surveillance and privacy;
  • Digital, health and media literacy;
  • Nationalism, multilateral collaboration and geopolitical shifts;
  • Impact on democracy and rights;
  • Digital platforms, remote communications, online services;
  • AI, data analytics, machine learning;
  • Any other relevant themes


The conference aims to assesses the overall impact of COVID-19 in the following areas:

  • Disinformation, literary programmes, contract tracing and privacy
  • Political participation, nationalism and multilateralism
  • Use of digital tools and technological innovations for business and work

Key Dates

  • Accepting abstracts now (on a rolling basis until 15 August 2021)
  • Payment due following acceptance of abstract (within 2 weeks of submission)
  • Full papers (deadline 30 August 2021)

Enquiries: research@asiacentre.org

Source: https://asiacentre.org/event/covid-19-in-asia-communication-nationalism-and-technology/


February 26
August 15
Event Category:


Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand


Asia Centre


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