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

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Maria Ressa has spent the past decade advocating for the protection of journalists. Today, we return to our urgent conversation with the trailblazing author and activist.

We begin by unpacking the fragmenting effects of social media (6:08), how the internet gave power to authoritarian regimes around the globe (8:49), and Ressa’s five years uncovering those operations (9:20). Then, we walk through her early years: moving from the Philippines to suburban New Jersey at age ten (14:08), three lessons from childhood (16:52), and her discoveries at Princeton (22:10).

On the back-half, we discuss Ressa’s serendipitous entry to the newsroom (32:18), why she founded Rappler in 2012 (35:12), and her critical reportage on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war (36:52), which led to her arrest by the Filipino government in 2019 (41:22). Now, she’s charted this fight in her book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator (47:12). To close, we unpack her continuous pursuit of the truth (50:03), her recognition as a 2021 Nobel Laureate (52:37), and an ode to a lifelong friend (56:11).

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Original illustration by Krishna ShenoiReference image by Rob Frogoso.

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