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The battle is yours —Ressa

By Kean Andrei Bagaipo | August 31, 2023

“The way we win the battle begins in you because the war isn’t in Ukraine, it’s in your pocket,” Nobel laureate Maria Ressa said in her talk on “Pressing Issues on Press Freedom” held on Aug. 24 at the Silliman University (SU) Audio-Visual Theater. 

As the featured speaker, Ressa discussed various political, technological, and geo-political aspects of press freedom issues. 

“It is not [just about all that], although it is part of it,” Ressa said. “It isn’t just the powerplay. It isn’t just the money. It is governance.”

She added that the fight against the “underpinning issues” of press freedom may be difficult since the Philippines has become “endemically corrupt.”

“[This happened] because corrupt people justified it and convinced others to become like them,” she said. 

Ressa also highlighted how the “transformative present moment of the past” affected the faith, values, and community system in the Philippines and worldwide.

“Faith and mass media and you are critically intertwined,” she said.

Ressa then discussed how the 2022 elections’ information warfare and operations turned President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos into one of the country’s most powerful leaders.

Drawing from her experience as the founder and CEO of Rappler PH for which she faced legal cases in 2019, Ressa said that “doing the right thing may seem to be doing the wrong thing in society.” 

The speaker’s discussion extended to broader issues affecting press freedom, such as media capture, social media polarization, and current trends in using generative artificial intelligence (AI), 

She described these technological advancements as the “tipping points” of spreading lies in the digital space.

Moreover, the award-winning journalist urged the audience to “hold the line” by building more networks to battle press freedom issues.
The event was organized by The Wednesday Forum, together with the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, SU College of Mass Communication, and Divinity School, in celebration of SU’s Founders Day celebrations this year.


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