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Threats Haven't Thwarted Long-time Investigative Journalist Honored at SU

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Alexandria Bennet
/
WAER News

An investigative journalist and co-founder of a well-known online news site was recognized Wednesday at Syracuse University for bravery in reporting despite numerous threats. 

Maria Ressa was honored with a Tully Award for Free Speech at the Newhouse School.  Ressa emphasized that if there are no facts, there is no trust.

You say a lie a million times, people think it’s true. You don’t have to fight it anymore. You astroturf on social media, you fertilize the landscape so that it can take action that would have been impossible to think about before.”

Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years.  She's been arrested and harassed for her work on the news site, Rappler, an online news source for people in the Philippines. Ressa’s freedom of speech has been threatened many times, but she says the best defense is to remain courageous and keep talking.

“The problem with our world today is that a lot of bad things have been allowed to happen with impunity. These exponential attacks on social media have psychological effect. Women are attacked more than men. It’s a new weapon used against journalist.”

Ressa also talked about the responsibility of journalists and the power of technology increasing the public’s access to information, for better or for worse.  Her online news site is rappler.com.