Exposing Rodrigo Duterte’s War on the Free Press

Exposing Rodrigo Duterte’s War on the Free Press

“It all goes back to Silicon Valley,” Ressa adds. A Thousand Cuts follows the Philippines 2019 legislative elections, when for the first time in 80 years, the opposition failed to secure even a single seat. It illuminates the Duterte government’s use of propaganda and social media to lie to their citizens, obscuring what many of them know to be the truth. This “post-truth” reality is one many people are now far too familiar with, even outside the Philippines. “When Facebook sells our most vulnerable data to the highest bidder, we no more have facts to hold each other accountable by. Accountability from the tech companies is a prerequisite to claim our democracies back. You do not have democracy if you don’t have facts,” Ressa asserts. In one scene, Duterte tells a Rappler journalist, “You will be allowed to criticize us. But you will go to jail for your crimes.” I was immediately reminded of the likes of Gauri Lankesh and Vikram Joshi, journalists back home in India who were murdered for speaking out against the country’s Hindu nationalist government.