Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa to Speak at 2018 International Media Conference

Rappler CEO & Executive Editor Maria Ressa will deliver a lecture at the 6th International Media Conference (IMC) in Singapore on June 24-27, 2018. Her topic will revolve around “on undermining of the free press” which seems appropriate as the Philippine-based Rappler is facing a shutdown order from the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

East-West Center (EWC), based in Honolulu, Hawaii, is organizing the biennial event. Its theme focuses on “What is News Now?” EWC conducted the 2016 ICM in New Delhi, India, attended by 400 delegates coming from 42 countries. The American independent, public, non-profit organization expects the same number of delegates to this year’s edition.

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Among the invited speakers and their topics for the event, aside from Ressa, are Caitlyn Chen, vice president of Tencent (on technological innovations in China’s media industry); Joshua Benton, director of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University, United States (on transformations in US/global media); Byron Perry, founder & CEO of Coconuts Media (on digital storytelling: Youtube to Facebook to Netflix); Alan Soon, co-founder & CEO of The Splice Newsroom (on transformations in Asia’s media and journalism); and Graeme Wood, author and national correspondent of The Atlantic (on the spread of ISIS in Asia).

Other speakers are Anubha Bhonsie of The Indian Express (journalism initiative across Asia); Saumya Khandelwal, award-winning Thompson Reuters photographer (on using Instagram to draw attention to underrepresented groups such as child brides); and Kamal Siddiqi, director of the Center for Excellence in Journalism, Karachi, Pakistan (on enhancing the profession).

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Also invited to speak is a senior US government official to deliver a talk on America’s new Indo-Pacific policy, and a speaker from Facebook. Another feature of the event are workshops for journalists to be conducted by Google and Facebook.

In the pipeline is a planned panels discussion on combating “fake news” on all fronts — civil society, platforms, government, media; Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the newsroom; Asia’s watchdog press under attack; new-era storytelling; engaging audiences; journalism with impact; where “big data” is headed; smart-city test beds; among others.

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Preparations are underway for the conference. It is being held in the face of “changing social and media landscapes in Asia-Pacific.” “The intersection of media, technology and social change has brought profound disruption to the business of news and storytelling,” the EWC said.

Participants will look at new-era trends and transformations in media and the news itself. They will seek to answer these questions:

  1. What kinds of creative reporting and business models are emerging in the region to tell and deliver stories?
  2. What is the level of trust between the public and media in Asia Pacific? How is misinformation being tackled?
  3. What should be regulated on social media platforms in the region, and how?

Meanwhile, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which co-sponsors the annual EWC Senior Journalists Seminar (SJS) is offering “competitive scholarships for up to 22 SJS alumni to attend the International Media Conference.”

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Ms. Elizabeth “Liz” A. Dorn, seminars program coordinator, professional development, EWC, invited SJS alumni to take advantage of the opportunity.

She said the alumni scholarships covers expenses related with the event, such as the US$275 conference registration; two-way international airfare for economy ticket worth $955, conference hotel accommodation up to four nights the comes with breakfast, conference ground transportation, and provided meals (three lunches, an opening evening reception, and keynote dinner).

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On the other hand, Dorn made clear the alumni scholarships will not cover expenses for visa, baggage, or airport transfers. The EWC was established by the US Congress in 1960. It “promotes better relations and understanding among people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative research, and dialogue.”

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EDD K. Usman

Presently, Edd Usman is a freelance journalist contributing as Stringer to Newsbytes.ph, Rappler.com, and Malaya Business Insight. From May 2016 to December 2017, he is a senior correspondent of Newsbytes.ph. He was also a Senior reporter at Manila Bulletin until April 15, 2016.

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