APrIGF 2023 Session Proposal Submission Form
Part 1 - Lead Organizer
Contact Person
Saritha Irugalbandara
Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate) *
Hashtag Generation
Programmes and Research Lead
Economy of Residence
Sri Lanka
Primary Stakeholder Group
Civil Society
List Your Organizing Partners (if any)
Shmyla Khan, Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan -
Seerat Khan, Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan -
Prarthana Mitra, Point of View India -
Part 2 - Session Proposal
Session Title
Malicious Convergence: Addressing Emerging Trends of Gendered Hate Speech in South Asia
Session Format
The speakers will present their case studies and observations, followed by opening the floor for an open discussion on the topic and the movement towards strengthening our own advocacy and response mechanisms.
Where do you plan to organize your session?
Onsite at the venue (with online moderator for questions and comments from remote participants)
Specific Issues for Discussion
This session unpacks emerging patterns of gendered hate speech in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India and their connections to rapidly expanding phenomena of the global manosphere and far-right, gender-critical sentiment threatening the exclusion of LGBTIQ+ people and the freedom of expression of women and gender-diverse people. Using case studies from the speakers’ countries, this session aims to also situate the impacts of gendered hate speech which extend beyond the digital domain by elucidating the symbiotic relationship between these patterns and ethnonationalist politics, state overreach, censorship, policies that threaten diversity, freedom of expression both online and offline, and the negligent role of social media companies.

Using an evidence-based approach, speakers will consider the implications of unhelpful siloing of gendered harm from broader ‘political’ internet governance issues such as disinformation despite the convergence of mis/disinformation and gendered hate speech, particularly in light of emerging technologies such as generative AI and ‘deepfakes’ that are becoming increasingly more accessible and prevalent in perpetrating gendered harm. A key intervention would also be to consider how these gaps are reproduced in policies and regulations formulated by technology companies, particularly with regards to tech design (algorithmic recommendations), content moderation, and their engagements with other stakeholders in the internet governance space. Following from a whole-of-society approach, an open discussion will be facilitated to intervene on the questions of what meaningful accountability from BigTech must be in the region in the face of this emerging threat, what advocacy tailored to empower users to have more agency over their own data bodies could be, and what the next stage of collective action and responsibility within the region must be in light of these common, boundary-defying threats to diversity and inclusion on the digital space.
Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF
The session directly contributes to the body of data and work on digital rights and diversity on the internet in the Asia-Pacific region. It would also delve into the interactions between hate speech, OGBV, and disinformation to bolster nuanced local and regional interventions in light of emerging patterns of gendered harm and rapidly evolving technology such as artificial intelligence. The session will also remind the internet governance space of the connection between the online space and offline policymaking, particularly the ways in which technology will continue to be a battleground where the freedom of expression and protection of fundamental freedoms and bodies of women, LGBTIQ+ people, and anyone who challenges gendered norms, continue to be negotiated in open negation of their agency and safety.

The session will be an evidence-based exploration of how pervasive gender hierarchies, norms, and harms will be reproduced in the next stage of tech due to consistent failures to address existing disparities meaningfully. As such, it would be a particularly important session at APrIGF in strengthening regional discussions on meaningful accountability, transparency and equitable tech design to the end of building trust between civil society, activists, researchers, and technological companies within the internet governance space. By carefully scrutinising the relationship between emerging patterns and existing policies and frameworks, this session will also be a common platform for practitioners to operationalise local and regional coalitions geared towards rethinking and re-strategising collective action and responsibility to protect digital rights and diversity in the Asia-Pacific.
Methodology / Agenda (Please add rows by clicking "+" on the right)
Time frame (e.g. 5 minutes, 20 minutes, should add up to 60 minutes) Description
4 minutes Introduction
7 minutes Presentation by Hashtag Generation
7 minutes Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan
7 minutes Presentation by Point of View India
35 minutes Q&A and open discussion
Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)
  • Moderator (Primary)

    • Stakeholder Group: Select One
    • Expected Presence: Select One
    • Status of Confirmation: Select One
  • Moderator (Facilitator)

    • Stakeholder Group: Select One
    • Expected Presence: Select One
    • Status of Confirmation: Select One
  • Speaker 1

    • Name: Saritha Irugalbandara
    • Organization: Hashtag Generation
    • Designation: Programmes and Research Lead
    • Gender: non-binary
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Sri Lanka
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Proposed
  • Speaker 2

    • Name: Shmyla Khan
    • Organization: Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan
    • Designation: Director Research and Policy
    • Gender: woman
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Pakistan
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Proposed
  • Speaker 3

    • Name: Seerat Khan
    • Organization: Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan
    • Designation: Programmes & Communication Lead
    • Gender: woman
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Pakistan
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Proposed
  • Speaker 4

    • Name: Prarthana Mitra
    • Organization: Point of View India
    • Designation: Knowledge & Ecosystems Anchor
    • Economy / Country of Residence: India
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: Online
    • Status of Confirmation: Proposed
  • Speaker 5

    • Name: Rumky Farhana
    • Organization: Article 19
    • Gender: woman
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Bangladesh
    • Stakeholder Group: Select One
    • Expected Presence: Select One
    • Status of Confirmation: Select One
Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.
Saritha Irugalbandara leads Hashtag Generation’s efforts on programmes and research on online gender-based violence (OGBV) in Sri Lanka. With over 2 years of experience mapping and analysing OGBV, they spearhead the organisation’s evidence-based approach to preventing and addressing OGBV through research and digital rights and security capacity building for Sri Lankan youth. Their work lies at the intersection of gendered bodies, data privacy, freedom of expression, and tech accountability and transparency. Currently, she is also part of the core group drafting the Sri Lanka Code of Practice for Online Safety and Responsible Content.

Shmyla Khan is the Director of Research and Policy at Digital Rights Foundation (DRF). She has over six years of experience of working on issues of gender, tech accountability, and the law. She is a lawyer by training and has worked as a researcher at the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She is a Fulbright Scholar and has taught privacy law and gender at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Beaconhouse National University (BNU).

Prarthana is a writer and researcher currently anchoring Knowledge projects at Point of View, India. They have worked at the intersections of gender, data and culture for over 5 years, executing participatory research studies on women informal workers and leading outreach at Doc Society’s Good Pitch Local and Climate Story Lab South Asia. At Point of View, they are building The Digital Everyday, a residency around the entanglements of bodies, data and gender justice with ArtEZ University of the Arts and Design Beku, and also co-leading an expansive research project on tech-facilitated gender based violence.

Seerat Khan:
Seerat Khan is the Programs and Comms Lead at DRF and has done extensive work over gender and technology for the past 6 years. She mostly works with women human rights defenders and women journalists over key themes like data protection, online safety, privacy and misinformation. She has also extensively conducted sessions and research with women on harassment and online harassment across Pakistan.
Please declare if you have any potential conflict of interest with the Program Committee 2023.
Are you or other session contributors planning to apply for the APrIGF Fellowship Program 2023?
Number of Attendees (Please fill in numbers)
    Gender Balance in Moderators/Speakers (Please fill in numbers)
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