Title: How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight For Our Future
Author: Maria Ressa
Publication Date: November 17, 2022
Number of Pages: 320
Format: E-book, Audiobook
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, History
Maria Ressa is one of the most renowned international journalists of our time. For decades, she challenged corruption and malfeasance in her native country, the Philippines, on its rocky path from an authoritarian state to a democracy. As a reporter from CNN, she transformed news coverage in her region, which led her in 2012 to create a new and innovative online news organization, Rappler. Harnessing the emerging power of social media, Rappler crowdsourced breaking news, found pivotal sources and tips, harnessed collective action for climate change, and helped increase voter knowledge and participation in elections.
But by their fifth year of existence, Rappler had gone from being lauded for its ideas to being targeted by the new Philippine government, and made Ressa an enemy of her country’s most powerful man: President Duterte. Still, she did not let up, tracking government seeded disinformation networks which spread lies to its own citizens laced with anger and hate. Hounded by the state and its allies using the legal system to silence her, accused of numerous crimes, and charged with cyberlibel for which she was found guilty, Ressa faces years in prison and thousands in fines.
There is another adversary Ressa is battling. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is also the story of how the creep towards authoritarianism, in the Phillipines and around the world, has been aided and abetted by the social media companies. Ressa exposes how they have allowed their platforms to spread a virus of lies that infect each of us, pitting us against one another, igniting, even creating, our fears, anger, and hate, and how this has accelerated the rise of authoritarians and dictators around the world. She maps a network of disinformation–a heinous web of cause and effect–that has netted the globe: from Duterte’s drug wars to America’s Capitol Hill; Britain’s Brexit to Russian and Chinese cyber-warfare; Facebook and Silicon Valley to our own clicks and votes.
Democracy is fragile. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is an urgent cry for Western readers to recognize and understand the dangers to our freedoms before it is too late. It is a book for anyone who might take democracy for granted, written by someone who never would. And in telling her dramatic and turbulent and courageous story, Ressa forces readers to ask themselves the same question she and her colleagues ask every day: What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth?
𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁-𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗼𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲
Writing this book alone in Maria Ressa’s pursuit to hold the line is a brave move. This was such an eye-opening read because it does not only tackle the Philippines’ internal struggles under a fascist government, but its message as a whole is to fight the ever growing problem of disinformation and historical revisionism in a global scale.
This was an upsetting and stressful read as Maria throws fact after fact on how the world turned out to be the way it is in the present day by using social media to spread false information (and most people believing the lies is saddening), but the book was also inspiring, moving, and powerful altogether.
I listened to the audiobook of this and it just made my reading experience even better. Hearing Maria Ressa herself narrate this memoir and deliver it with such flair and passion made me admire her even more. Maria Ressa really is deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize. Overall, How to Stand Up to a Dictator was brilliantly written with data statistics and receipts; it turned out to be an instant favorite for me. I highly recommend this.
“𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐 𝒈𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒚𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒑𝒆𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒆𝒍𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒂𝒘 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒆.”