Speakers tackle journalism's oppressors in 'festival of ideas'

Awarded Phlippines publisher Maria Ressa is among speakers during a 'festival of ideas' being held in Sydney at the end iof August.

With Lina Attalah, Irina Borogan, Steve Coll, she tackles the theme, 'My crime is journalism' during the Antidote festival at the Sydney Opera House from August 31 - September 1. The session is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

Ressa is among journalists who have pledged to 'shine the light' and not be intimidated by world leaders who attack truth through censorship and state control. One of the Philippines' most outspoken journalists, she has been arrested numerous times.

With her will be Lina Attalah, who founded independent online Egyptian newspaper Mada Masr in a country where journalists disappear. And in Russia, reporters like Irina Borogan continue to find new ways to share information despite punishment.

The three brave journos share thoughts on truthtelling, the opportunities social media brings, and what happens when you make powerful enemies.

Maria Ressa spent two decades working as an investigative reporter and foreign correspondent. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler, an online news platform that has grown into the fourth biggest news website in the Philippines with over 100 journalists. She was among the journalists named Time Person of the Year 2018. Ressa and Rappler, known for its critical coverage on the Duterte administration, are facing several cases including libel and tax-related charges.

Lina Attalah is an Egyptian media figure and journalist. Attalah is co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr, an independent online Egyptian newspaper and was previously managing editor of the Egypt Independent prior to its closure in 2013. She is active in the fight against the restriction of honest journalism. TIME magazine recognized her as a New Generation Leader, calling her the "Muckraker of the Arab World."

Irina Borogan is the deputy editor at Agentura.ru, and the coauthor of The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries.

Steve Coll, a staff writer, is the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and reports on issues of intelligence and national security in the US and abroad. He was the managing editor of the Washington Post from 1998-2005, having earlier been a feature writer, a foreign correspondent, and an editor there; in 1990, he shared a Pulitzer Prize with David Vise for a series of articles about the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Other events of special interest to journalists and publishers include:

Dark Data - Christopher Wylie and Andrei Soldatov talk about the use of data to influence elections and invade privacy. Whistleblower Christopher Wylie and Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov explain why this is one of the most important issues of our age.

The State We're In - Aboriginal journalist and TV presenter Stan Grant and Fintan O'Toole pose questions such as whether racism is at the heart of contemporary Australia, and discuss the UK's Brexit-driven return to xenophobic populism and the US fixation on building walls. O'Toole is an Irish journalist and, drama critic, awarded the Orwell Prize and the European Press Prize.

Press & Power in Africa - Mausi Segun discusses the challenges journalists face under the controlling African government is controlling and how independent media can be protected.Segun is executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa Division, overseeing its work in approximately 30 countries.

More details from the Antidote website.

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