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Exposing Truth, Challenging Power

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Nobel Peace Prize winner journalist Maria Ressa visits UD on April 27 to discuss her lifelong mission

Journalist Maria Ressa sitting at a laptop in a newsroom

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Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa will visit UD on April 27 in honor of World Freedom Press Day.

NEWARK, Del. — To mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the University of Delaware welcomes the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa to campus on April 27. In an event hosted by the Department of Communication, the Filipino-American journalist will discuss her fight for press freedom under the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Ressa will join Professor Emeritus Ralph Begleiter on stage at the historic Mitchell Hall Theatre for a conversation entitled “Exposing Truth, Challenging Power." As the co-founder of Rappler — the top digital-only news site leading the fight for freedom in the Philippines — Ressa endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government, forced to post bail eight times to stay free.

The event is part of the expansion of the Initiative on Free and Responsible Expression (I-FRE) developed by Dr. Jennifer Lambe, an associate professor of communication, with a mission to conduct research and engage the public about issues where free expression conflicts with other important values. According to Lambe, Ressa “exemplifies what a brave and committed journalist and newsroom leader can accomplish, even under the weight of an oppressive dictatorship." Lambe notes that Ressa, whose Nobel Prize was awarded for her work on disinformation and fake news, “calls out the role of internet companies in damaging our information ecosystem and points to economic imperatives that have allowed hate speech and misinformation to proliferate while quality journalism languishes."​

​The event on April 27 is free and open to the public.  Reservations are not required, but seating is limited.  Doors of Mitchell Hall open at 6:15pm and the program will begin at 7pm.  Those attending will need to complete the Daily Health Check found here.

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About Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa at a speaking event

Maria Ressa has traveled the world speaking out about disinformation and fake news.

​Maria Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for nearly 35 years. As Rappler's co-founder, executive editor and CEO, she has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government. For her courage and work on disinformation and 'fake news,' Maria was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, named Time Magazine's 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, has been named one of Time's Most Influential Women of the Century, and is a co-founder of The Real Facebook Oversight Board. She was also part of BBC's 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 and Prospect magazine's world's top 50 thinkers, and has won many awards for her contributions to journalism and human rights. Before founding Rappler, Maria focused on investigating terrorism in Southeast Asia. She opened and ran CNN's Manila Bureau for nearly a decade before opening the network's Jakarta Bureau, which she ran from 1995 to 2005. She wrote “Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda's Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia" and “From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism."​

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About I-FRE

​The visit from Ressa exemplifies I-FRE's mission of exploring the tensions between hate speech and free speech generally, attempts to balance free speech and diversity efforts on college and university campuses specifically, and efforts to improve information literacy and the quality of public discourse.

Donations to I-FRE will enable the initiative to develop public programming and resources including:

  • Events centered around Free Speech Week and World Freedom Press Day.
  • Symposia bringing together free speech scholars, nonprofit leaders, and activists to address freedom of speech issues.
  • Curricular materials and partnerships with middle and high schools regarding information literacy.
  • Training materials for college and university administrators, staff, and faculty on preparing for and responding to hate and bias incidents on their campuses.
  • A publicly available database of global efforts to respond to hate speech.
  • An annual study that assesses public attitudes toward free expression and effectiveness of interventions that teach information literacy and civil responses to harmful expression.​

Photos courtesy​​ of Project Speaker.
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Nobel Peace Prize winner journalist Maria Ressa visits UD on April 27 to discuss her lifelong mission
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