Filipina investigative journalist discusses career covering Philippine government and presidents

BERKELEY, CA — Raissa Robles, an investigative journalist, first began her career as an investigative journalist under the Marcos dictatorship. But after interviewing the Philippines’ 5 succeeding presidents, it is only now that she says she is afraid.

“Now I always look behind my shoulder, to the left or right to see if someone is following me, the fear is very real,” said Robles.

Robles recently spoke at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, highlighting her long journalism career in one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world: the Philippines.

“When you hear Ms. Robles speak you understand the significance of the work is and also why it takes a tremendous amount of commitment because there are people who oppose it, and who are against this kind of work,” said John Temple.

During the talk, Robles and Professor John Temple noted parallels between the campaigns of Presidents Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte—ones they say took advantage of social media.

The talk comes as international media continues to cover president Duterte’s war on drugs, which Robles says is fairly reported on.

“International media are actually staffed by local Filipino veteran media, and I know for a fact that some of them have very, very deep sources in the military or police.”

Meanwhile, Congress continues to investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 US presidential election, including alleged use of online attacks and fake news spread by what are now known as internet trolls.

“Once simply disregarded, the threat of so-called internet trolls has now become a mainstream concern, prompting platforms like this university to shed light on the dangers they pose to both journalists as well as their audiences.”

In a digital age, these journalists advise people to exercise vigilance when it comes to consuming information.

“The danger is that voices will be silenced, fake news will be distributed, and we could twist the culture and potentially damage our own society through social media.”

“Ask themselves when they read something, is this true? What is the truth? That’s very important. They have to be their own investigative reporters.”

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