KEYNOTE: Maria Ressa & Peter Pomerantsev: How to Stand Up to a Dictator

Mar 15, 2022

10:00am – 11:00am CT

Nobel Peace Prize winner and journalist Maria Ressa and writer and Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Agora Institute Peter Pomerantsev will speak with Stephen King, CEO of global philanthropic organization Luminate, about disinformation, ‘fake news’, and the fight for truth.

Maria’s upcoming book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator, is the story of how democracy dies by a thousand cuts, and how an invisible atom bomb has exploded online that is killing our freedoms. It maps a network of disinformation that has netted the globe: from Duterte’s drug wars, to America’s Capitol Hill, to Britain’s Brexit, to Russian and Chinese cyber-warfare, to Facebook and Silicon Valley, to our own clicks and our own votes. A journalist in Asia for 36 years, Maria has endured constant political harassment and arrest under the Duterte government. As of December 3, 2021, there are at least seven active cases pending in court against Maria, Rappler’s directors, and a former researcher.

Peter’s research centers on overcoming the challenges of digital era disinformation and polarization, and he’s written extensively on Russian propaganda. This topic is more than academic for him though. He was born in Kyiv when it was part of the Soviet Union, and his father, a poet and novelist, was arrested by the KGB for distributing “harmful literature” in the 1970s. Peter later spent many years working in television in Moscow, where he saw firsthand how Russian media manipulates viewers. His most recent book, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality is an account of propaganda in Russia and beyond.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Stephen King
Stephen King


photo of Peter Pomerantsev
Peter Pomerantsev

Agora Institute Johns Hopkins University

photo of Maria Ressa
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