Our regular critic. Journalist, writer, author. Works mostly from Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.
JOURNALISM: In the Philippines, one brave woman and her team of journalists fight to maintain the power of truth over lies.

Maria Ressa has the dogged determination of a true newshound. The co-founder and chief executive of the Philippines’ news site Rappler.com, is a Time Person of the Year (2018) and recipient of numerous international journalism awards. As a former CNN staffer in the country (and also in Jakatra, Indonesia), the 56-year-old journalist had long specialised in investigating terrorist groups before founding Rappler.com in 2012. When, in 2016, controversial politician Rodrigo Duterte was elected on a populist platform that promised a «war on drugs» with a «shoot to kill» order to be issued to police, Maria’s moment came.

Darkness reigns all around

Marc Weise spent a year with Mara and her dedicated team of fearless young journalists as pressure mounted from a president and government that does not take at all kindly questioning.

For viewers who are accustomed to watching major documentaries on some of the world’s most disturbing human rights abuses, We Hold the Line offers an arguably less harrowing picture of a desperately sad and violent situation than some. Although Weise does not shy away from showing the bodies of the victims of the police and death squads – the slumped remains in dusty gutters often adorned with cardboard signs declaring, in English, they are drug abusers or drug pushers – his aim here is to shine a light on those who stand for truth and light when all around darkness reigns.

Maria is not a woman who scares easily. (A quick look at her biography reveals when threatened with the sack by a previous employer for moonlighting, she simply resigned in an open letter and continued with her remarkable career.) A Filipino woman who grew up and . . .

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