Maria Ressa has spent years exposing how governments use the internet to control and manipulate their citizens. In 2021 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her fearless efforts to safeguard freedom of expression by tracking and documenting the disinformation networks planted by the Philippines government in its campaign to foment hatred of drug users among its citizens and cement the power of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Now, hounded by the state, Ressa lives knowing that there are multiple arrest warrants against her and she faces a potential 100 years or more behind bars if she were to return to the Philippines. On Thursday December 1 she comes to Intelligence Squared with a stark warning of how democracy slowly decays. In conversation with broadcaster Gabriel Gatehouse she will argue that the dominant platforms of the digital world are killing our freedoms. She will map a network of disinformation that has spread across the globe: from Duterte’s drug wars, to America’s Capitol Hill, to Britain’s Brexit, to global cyberwarfare, to Facebook and Silicon Valley, to our own clicks and our own votes. Told from the frontline of the digital war, this is Maria Ressa’s urgent call to regulate the way in which we consume information online, before it is too late.