Can journalism survive an authoritarian ruler?

Is that a fact?

Sep 30 2020 • 33 mins

Within journalism circles, Maria Ressa is a hero.  She is a veteran journalist, as well as the co-founder, executive editor and CEO of Rappler , a popular online news website in the Philippines. Ressa is celebrated for her critical coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte and for enduring legal challenges to her site’s reporting.

She has experienced first-hand how hard it is for journalists to hold the line against an authoritarian leader when press freedoms are threatened. In June, Ressa and her former Rappler colleague were found guilty of “cyber libel.” She is currently fighting the government’s move to revoke Rappler’s license and faces up to 100 years in prison for her work as a journalist.

Ressa is the subject of a recent PBS documentary, “A Thousand Cuts,” about the fight between the government and the press in the Philippines. She was named Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and has also been named one of Time's Most Influential Women of the Century. She is the author of two books: From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism;  and Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda's Newest Center.

Our host spoke to Ressa about the rise of misinformation, the role of tech in
and, of course, her battles with Duterte. The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

Additional credit: Suzannah Gonzales provided producing assistance, Zoe Denckla provided research assistance and Miranda Shafer provided production assistance.