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Club Online Zoom Event: Social Media Bans: Protecting Society or a Threat to Free Speech?

Social Media Bans: Protecting Society or a Threat to Free Speech?
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
8:00pm HKT on Zoom
The silencing of Donald Trump on Twitter may have been welcomed by his detractors, but it raised important questions about freedom of speech and the power of Big Tech. Social media companies are under pressure to combat the spread of disinformation, yet at a time when authoritarian governments around the world are trying to stifle dissenting opinions, what kind of precedent has been set by the banning of Trump and other right-wing voices from these platforms? What are the ramifications of Facebook declaring Myanmar a “Temporary High-Risk Location” and banning a page linked to a military-owned TV network after the recent coup? And how is all this viewed from Hong Kong, where media freedom is under threat? Moderated by FCC First Vice President Eric Wishart.
Panelists include:

Maria Ressa is the CEO and President of She has been honoured around the world for her work in fighting disinformation, “fake news” and attempts to silence the free press. In 2018, she was named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” and won the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-INFRA), among others. She has been a journalist in Asia for 35 years.
Alejandro Reyes is director of knowledge dissemination and a visiting associate professor at Asia Global Institute, where he manages the AsiaGlobal Online journal. He is also a fellow of the Canadian International Council for 2020-2022. Prior to joining the Institute, Reyes was for two years senior policy adviser to the assistant deputy minister for Asia Pacific and convenor of the Asia Pacific Policy Hub at Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian foreign ministry.
Craig Silverman is a journalist, author and one of the world’s leading experts on online disinformation, fake news, and digital investigations. He is the media editor of BuzzFeed News, where he covers platforms, online disinformation, and media manipulation. Silverman recently published an updated version of his ground-breaking Verification Handbook – For Disinformation and Media Manipulation.


Speaker: Maria Ressa, Alejandro Reyes, Craig Silverman,

Human Rights Press Awards


The Human Rights Press Awards are run by the FCC, Amnesty International Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. The 24th annual awards were announced on May 6, 2020. See the winners here.