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How to Stand Up to a Dictator by Maria Ressa review – tales of a moral giant

With this important memoir cum manifesto, the Nobel peace prize-winning journalist who took on Facebook and the murderous Duterte regime in the Philippines exposes the abuse of power The Filipino-American Maria Ressa may physically be a diminutive figure (5ft 2in in stockinged feet) but she is a moral giant. In 2021, she was one of two journalists (the other being the Russian Dmitry Muratov) to be awarded the Nobel peace prize for their efforts to “safeguard freedom of expression” in their respective countries. She thus joins two other journalists in a select pantheon of earlier winners: the Yemeni Tawakkol Karman, who shared the prize with two other women in 2011, and the German reporter Carl Ossietzky, who was honoured in 1935 for his reporting of German rearmament under Hitler. Ossietzky was unable to collect his prize because the regime refused him permission to travel to Norway, and he died in 1938 after enduring years of torture and mistreatment in Nazi concentration camps. Ressa was given the award for her fearless reporting of the corruption and brutality of the Duterte regime in the land of her birth, the Philippines. If the president of that unfortunate country had concentration camps at his disposal, she would assuredly be in one of them. In their absence, the regime has had to be content with convicting her for a crime she did not commit (based on an article she did not write, under a “cyberlibel” offence that did not yet exist), and issuing 10 arrest warrants. If found guilty of these other charges, her lawyer tells her, she could go to jail for more than a century. Since 2018, she has been wearing a bulletproof vest when on the road. Continue reading...

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