Tools for Truth: global media in the digital age

A Storyology 2017 event



28 August, 2017

Forget what you think you know about fake news. Our neighbours in Asia have been dealing with fake news, lies and propaganda for years. More recently, the same technology and social media platforms that have enabled political participation and social change have become a battleground for 'weaponised' internet warriors to spread misinformation. And sometimes the perpetrators are governments themselves.

Our global panel will discuss how citizens, journalists and publishers are fighting back with fact-checking, verification, data-driven reporting and collaborations across borders.


  • Maria Ressa, CEO, Rappler (Philippines)
    Maria A Ressa is the CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, a social news network which uses a hearts and minds approach to news through a unique mood navigator. Rappler combines the best of professional journalism with citizen journalism and crowdsourcing. Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for nearly 30 years, most of them as CNN’s bureau chief in Manila (1987-1995) then Jakarta (1995-2005). She was CNN’s lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism in Southeast Asia and wrote Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia (2003). She worked on her second book, From Bin Laden to Facebook, as Author-in-Residence and Senior Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence & Terrorism Research in Singapore.
  • Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor, The Wire (India)
    Siddharth Varadarajan is a Founding Editor of The Wire (, India's leading independent news and analysis site. He was earlier the editor in chief of The Hindu newspaper. A trained economist, he taught at New York University before joining The Times of India as a leader writer in 1995. As a reporter, he has covered the NATO war against Yugoslavia, the humanitarian crisis in Iraq during post Gulf War sanctions, and the Kashmir problem. He was one of the few international journalists to visit and write about Afghanistan during Taliban rule. His 2002 book Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy, was the first book-length account of the anti-Muslim violence that took the lives of 1500 people in the Indian state.
  • Matt Davis, videojournalist, ABC TV Foreign Correspondent
    Matt Davis has worked as a multi-skilled journalist/producer/cameraman throughout the world’s metropolises and backwaters. Currently based at the ABC's Foreign Correspondent, Matt's recent work includes the AACTA and Walkley Award nominated documentary #BlackLivesMatter, interactive Verse/ABC collaboration Freedom Riders, Venezuela Undercover and a two week prison embed that produced Life Inside Kerobokan (Bali). His colourful career has crossed news and current affairs, the arts, documentary, entertainment and action sports - working with a diverse range of communities and cutting edge technology. Post-assignment he can be found sitting on his surfboard off North Maroubra contemplating the edit.
  • Dr Aim Sinpeng (panel chair), Department of Government and International Relations, the University of Sydney
    Aim Sinpeng teaches and researches on the interplay between digital media and politics in Southeast Asia. She is the co-founder of the Sydney Cyber Security Network and is the country coodinator for Thailand for the Sydney Southeast Asian Centre. Her recent works examine online political engagement in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines and is co-editing a book volume on Internet, Politics and Democracy in Southeast Asia. Aim regularly blogs about technology and political and social change in Southeast Asia.
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