Philippines: Defending the Truth in the Digital Space


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For journalist Ana P. Santos, it's not just about bringing the truth to light, but above all about defending the truth. Because especially on social media, the truth is under attack in the Philippines. Social media is frequently used for manipulation and disinformation campaigns there, not only by former President Rodrigo Duterte, but also by newly elected Ferdinand Marcos Junior (son of longtime dictator Ferdinand Marcos) during the 2022 election campaign.

As a journalist in the Philippines (ranked 147 out of 180 in Reporters Without Borders' press freedom index), she is used to work under difficult conditions. On the one hand, as a contributor to the news platform "Rappler," which was founded by Maria Ressa, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and has been particularly exposed to frequent attacks by Rodrigo Duterte. On the other hand, as a journalist who writes about topics such as women's rights, labor migration, and sexual and reproductive health, she repeatedly runs into problems in the deeply Catholic country.

Also because of the increasing hostility in social media, she took part in the Berlin Scholarship Program to empower journalists in the digital field of Reporters Without Borders this spring. In four months, she completed training in digital security in Berlin, which will enable her to pass on her knowledge as a multiplier in her home country.

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