Myanmar Mini-Conference



Shifting narratives of democracy and inclusion in the online space - what we learned from engaging half a million netizens in Myanmar

Changer les narratifs de la démocratie et de l'inclusion dans l'espace digital - ce que nous avons appris en engageant un demi-million de net-citoyens au Myanmar


Sunday, October 24, 2021


09:00 – 10:45

VenueVenue 4Venue 4


Presenters: Shlomit Broder, Digital Public Square (DPS); Ivo Balinov, Parliamentary Centre  

Discussants: Myanmar human rights activists (TBC)

This panel will explore the potential of leveraging digital social listening and digital engagement platforms to identify and better understand shifting narratives in public online spaces in Myanmar following the coup. This session will also discuss how social listening analysis can be used to support democratic actors in Myanmar and engage decision-makers in Canada and international networks.        

The Parliamentary Centre and Digital Public Square (DPS) are Canadian NGOs that have been engaged in Myanmar, pre and post coup. The Parliamentary Centre has been working with elected members of government, civil society and peace process actors in Myanmar at the national and sub-national level since 2013, when it facilitated the first exchange between parliamentarians from Canada and Myanmar on issues of democratization and the role of elected assemblies. Since 2019, DPS has led a program in Myanmar that seeks to increase tolerance and inclusion for religious and ethnic minorities. Working closely with multiple local partners and experts in the country, DPS has deployed two nationwide digital surveys of opinions and beliefs on issues related to tolerance, online harassment, and religious freedoms. In October of that year, DPS launched a mobile-optimized educational tool that seeks to promote social cohesion in Myanmar by helping people test their knowledge on - and learn more about - world religions and religious freedoms. The product was very well-received and to date has engaged over a half a million people in Myanmar.

In 2021, the Centre and DPS engaged in a pilot program to explore the potential of leveraging social listening to identify and better understand shifting narratives in public online spaces in Myanmar, following the Coup. The pilot was possible with the support of the Knowledge for Democracy program, implemented by the International Development Research Centre with financial support from Global Affairs Canada.    

This analysis revealed shifts in Myanmar’s online information environment that suggest expanding space for public engagement with religious and ethnic tolerance following the coup. This session will include a presentation of some of the key findings that have been documented by this pilot and preceding initiatives; some of the methods that were leveraged for digital engagement around sensitive topics and the subsequent online community response; the main findings from a comparison of pre- and post-coup datasets and more recent findings from post-coup social listening, as it relates to inclusive constitution drafting and religious tolerance; the relevance of social media listening findings for democratic actors in Myanmar, Canadian decision-makers and international networks engaged in promoting Myanmar’s return to democracy.

Convenor/Animateur: Tom Cormier, Parliamentary Centre of Canada; Ivo Balinov, Parliamentary Centre of Canada

Chair/Président: Tom Cormier, Parliamentary Centre of Canada; Ivo Balinov, Parliamentary Centre of Canada

Event poster



CCSEAS Conference 2021 |