Portrait of independent Philippine news website Rappler and its brave founder, journalist Maria Ressa. And showing how the populist government of president Rodrigo Duterte uses a combination of tough talk, lies, oppression and entertainment to silence the truth.
‘Lies laced with anger and hate spread the fastest’, says journalist Maria Ressa. She and her independent news website Rappler followed Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to the presidency, and saw how his blood-thirsty, revengeful language struck a note with voters. During the years that followed, Rappler and Ressa have become the target of intimidation and violence while revealing the truth about Duterte’s dehumanising war on drugs, his corruption and the weaponisation of the Internet.
A Thousand Cuts follows the day-to-day workings at Rappler, while its journalists and Ressa are under increasing danger. We also get close access to the Duterte camp. We meet popular influencer Mocha Uson, spreading Duterte’s propaganda on social media. And Bato Dela Rosa, one of the leading figures in the war on drugs, saying: ‘Yes, I would kill for the president’. With Duterte warning critical journalists that ‘if you end up dead, it’s your fault’, the dignified and resilient demeanour of Maria Ressa becomes all the more impressive.