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Maria Ressa

To book for the Maria Ressa live streamed conversation with Fatima Measham on Wednesday 11 November 2020, visit The Wheeler Centre

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Maria Ressa: Freedom and Fakery in the Philippines Today

Maria Ressa is a veteran investigative journalist and the CEO of the influential Philippine news portal Rappler. In June this year, she and a colleague were found guilty of cyberlibel, in a dubious court decision that many believe was politically motivated.Ressa has been a dogged and long-time critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, and of his supporters. The relationship between Ressa, as a journalist, and Duterte, as a political figure, dates back to the 1980s, but after Duterte’s election in 2016, Rappler ran a series of stories about his active online ‘troll army’ and the fake news stories they were circulating, and earned the ire of the Duterte administration.In the lead-up to the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we’ll present the indomitable Ressa in conversation with Fatima Measham, with an introduction by PEN Sydney president Mark Isaacs. Ressa will discuss technology’s impact on democracy and the implications of her own case for freedom of speech today.Presented in partnership with PEN Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and the Copyright Agency. Help support PEN’s campaigns to defend persecuted and imprisoned writers.

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People say that (writers) are pretty powerless: we don’t have an army, we don’t have a bureaucracy. But if that were true, then why would writers be arrested?... Because the spoken word is powerful.

— John Ralston Saul on the work of PEN International