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Maria Ressa, 2018 Person of the Year, to discuss press threats in exclusive Sentinel online event

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Watchdog Club

Maria Ressa, 2018 Person of the Year, to discuss press threats in exclusive Sentinel online event

Embattled journalist to review 'The Price of Truthful Reporting: Death Threats, Prison Sentence'

Maria Ressa, a renowned Filipino journalist and a Time Person of the Year in 2018, will talk about how she's put her life on the line for her reporting in an online event Wednesday — free for supporters!

Please join us Wednesday, August 19, from 5-6 p.m. for a conversation with Maria Ressa, an editor who has faced down threats and prosecutions in the Philippines in order to document the brutalities the government has inflicted on the people of that country.

Maria will be joining us LIVE from the Philippines (where it'll be 8 a.m. the next day) to talk about her personal journey and what so many of us are interested in: credible journalism, sifting fact from fiction, and shining a light on truth at all costs.

This event is presented by in cooperation with San Diego's — one of our fellow nonprofit, nonpartisan newsrooms. The discussion will be moderated by Lorie Hearn of inewssource, which is asking registrants to submit questions when they sign up to take part in this special event.

An email with registration info will be sent to ALL MEMBERS OF THE WATCHDOG CLUB that supports's independent nonprofit newsroom. Everyone who's donated to our work in the past year — whether $10 or $10,000 — will be able to tune in to this special Zoom online event. Not a member yet? You can join here with just a few clicks!

Face of press freedom

Maria was 2018 Time magazine person of the year, was co-founder of the news organization Rappler and has become an international face of the fight for press freedom.

Now, she faces a prison sentence for charges brought by the repressive regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, including cyber libel. She was found guilty in June, with the possibility of up to six years behind bars, in a trial that Reporters Without Borders described as "Kafkaesque."

Maria Ressa was named by Time as one of "the Guardians" honored as "persons of the year" in 2018, along with murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi, imprisoned Myanmar reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., which was attacked by a gunman, with five members killed.

The news magazine honored them "for taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts, for speaking up and for speaking out."

About Ressa, Time said: "In the Philippines, a 55-year-old woman named Maria Ressa steers Rappler, an online news site she helped found, through a superstorm of the two most formidable forces in the information universe: social media and a populist President with authoritarian inclinations. Rappler has chronicled the violent drug war and extrajudicial killings of President Rodrigo Duterte that have left some 12,000 people dead, according to a January estimate from Human Rights Watch. The Duterte government refuses to accredit a Rappler journalist to cover it, and in November charged the site with tax fraud, allegations that could send Ressa to prison for up to 10 years."

In an essay by Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. secretary of state wrote that "around the world, a new generation of authoritarian leaders is leading a concerted and intentional assault on truth, with serious consequences for journalists such as Maria who are committed to exposing corruption, documenting abuse and combatting misinformation."

"When I presented her with the National Democratic Institute’s highest honor in 2017," Albright wrote, "she spoke of the hard work and courage of her colleagues at Rappler: 'We are journalists, and we will not be intimidated. We will shine the light. We will hold the line.' That is precisely what she has done."

Check your email for the registration link, if you're a member of the Watchdog Club!

Among the organizations joining inewsource and in participating in this exclusive discussion are: G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism, InquireFirst, KPBS, KPCW Radio, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, ProjectSpeaker, PublicSource, Underscore News, and the University of California San Diego Library.

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