Maria Ressa

“Democracy is fragile. You have to fight for every bit, every law, every safeguard, every institution, every story. You must know how dangerous it is to suffer even the tiniest cut. This is why I say to us all: we must hold the line.

-Maria Ressa, episode 310 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

As we near the end of 2022, we sit with trailblazing journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa. We begin by unpacking the fragmenting effects of social media (5:08), how the Internet is giving power to authoritarian regimes around the globe (7:49), and Ressa’s past five years uncovering those operations (8:20). Then, we walk through her early years: moving from the Philippines to suburban New Jersey at age ten (13:08), three lessons from childhood (15:52), and the books that impacted her at Princeton (21:10).

On the back-half, we discuss Ressa’s serendipitous entry to the newsroom (30:18), why she founded Rappler in 2012 (33:12), and her critical reportage on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war (34:52), which led to her arrest by the Filipino government in 2019 (39:22). Now, she’s charted this fight in her new book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator (45:12). To close, we honor her continuous pursuit of the truth (48:03), her recognition as a 2021 Nobel Laureate (50:37), and the words of a lifelong friend (54:11).

Original illustration by Krishna ShenoiReference image by Rob Frogoso.

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