Asian Democracy in the Shadow of the Information Age: Social Media’s Promise and Pitfalls


AsiaX with Raheel Khursheed

Over the last decade, more than one billion new internet users have come online across Asia. While widespread internet usage has allowed for greater access to information, the growth in social media use has also created fertile ground for ethnic violence and hate speech in places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka. As a new generation of tech-savvy netizens comes of age, many now question whether access to technology has empowered or weakened social transparency and openness. Just as importantly, how worried should we be about the misuse of social media in the political process during an era of rising authoritarianism and disinformation?

The Asia Society Policy Institute is pleased to host Raheel Khursheed, former Head of News Partnerships for Twitter in India & South East Asia, for a discussion of these and other issues at the next installment of ASPI’s AsiaX speaker series. Raheel will draw on his experience working at the confluence of news, government, tech, and civic engagement to discuss the opportunities and challenges that social media holds for democracy and government transparency in Asia.

This is the fifth session of the Asia Society Policy Institute's  AsiaX  speaker series and networking event for Asia policy professionals and young executives.  AsiaX is focused on bringing fresh ideas from up-and-coming Asian innovators and experts to the Washington D.C. policy debate. These private events bring together young leaders from across the government, business, and policy communities to discuss emerging trends and issues that are re-shaping Asia and the U.S. role in the region.


Raheel Khursheed

Raheel Khursheed works at the intersection of civic technology, news, digital governance and disaster response. He previously headed News Partnerships for Twitter in India and South East Asia. At Twitter Raheel led the conception, development and roll out of award winning civic tech products — Twitter Seva, Twitter Samvad, SmartFeed — with the goal of democratizing information, helping governments do their job with accountability and transparency and enabling meaningful citizen engagement at scale. Raheel's innovative product and partnerships work — from Twitter SMS alerts to live data on national television — has dramatically altered how elections/politics are narrated in India. Previously as the Director of Communications, India at, Raheel led the ‘Stop Rape’ campaign that helped change the rape laws in India. As a cross-platform journalist and storyteller, Raheel has worked in, written for and produced and field-produced stories for outlets such as Vice, PBS, ProPublica, BBC-PRI and a host of publications across the world.

Lindsey Ford

Lindsey W. Ford is the Director of Political-Security Affairs for the Asia Society Policy Institute, as well as ASPI’s inaugural Richard Holbrooke Fellow and Deputy Director of the Washington D.C. Office. Prior to joining ASPI, she served in a variety of roles at the U.S. Department of Defense, including, most recently, as the Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. Ford has previously worked as a researcher for the Center for a New American Security, and as a consultant to organizations including the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the Congressional Research Service. She completed a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Arts in Asian Studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and studied abroad at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. 

Event Details

Wed 17 Oct 2018
6 - 8 p.m.

The Loft at 600 F 600 F St NW

Washington, D.C. 20004


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