Meet our speakers

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Maria Ressa
2021 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
CEO & Founder of Rappler

A journalist in Asia for more than 35 years, Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, the top digital only news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines. As Rappler's CEO and president, Maria has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government, forced to post bail ten times to stay free. Rappler's battle for truth and democracy is the subject of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary, A Thousand Cuts.


In October 2021, Maria was one of two journalists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."


Before co-founding Rappler, Maria focused on investigating terrorism in Southeast Asia. She opened and ran CNN's Manila Bureau for nearly a decade before moving to Indonesia and opening the network's Jakarta bureau, which she ran from 1995 to 2005. That was when she returned to Manila as the senior vice president in charge of ABS-CBN's multimedia news operations, managing about a thousand journalists for the largest news organization in the country.


Maria wrote Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism. She is writing her third book, How to Stand up to a Dictator, for publication in 2022.

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Eliot Higgins
Founder of Bellingcat

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat, a multi-award winning investigative collective focused on online open-source investigation. Higgins is currently creative director of Bellingcat’s investigative arm, Stichting Bellingcat, and director of Bellingcat’s production company, Bellingcat Productions BV.


Higgins first came to prominence during the early stages of the conflict in Syria, when he started blogging about open-source images being shared online from the conflict. Early successes included identifying the types of munitions being used by the Syrian Air Force,

including cluster munitions and improvised “barrel bombs”, identifying arms being smuggled to Syrian armed opposition groups by Saudi Arabia through Jordan, and investigating the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.


Over the years Bellingcat has expanded from a single staff member and a team of volunteers to a Netherlands based NGO employing 30 staff members from across the world, working on a wide range of topics. Bellingcat’s work has led the way in developing the use of online open

source investigation in a wide variety of fields, from journalism to justice and accountability, and is widely recognised as a leader in the development of online open source investigation.

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Nic Newman
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Senior Research Associate

Nic Newman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism where he is author of the annual Digital News Report, the world’s largest on-going study of consumer behaviour around news covering 46 countries. He authors an influential annual report on media and technology trends and has published recent research on trust and  misinformation – as well as the financial sustainability of news media.

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Daisuke Furuta
Google News Lab, Teaching Fellow

Daisuke is a Journalist and media consultant. In the two years since September 2020, when he started working as a News Lab teaching fellow , he has provided digital reporting training to a total of more than 20,000 journalists and students. He started his career in The Asahi Shimbun. After working in branch offices in Japan and Southeast Asia, he was assigned as a digital editor in Tokyo. In 2015, he joined BuzzFeed as the founder and editor-in-chief of Japan edition. He left BuzzFeed in 2019 and set up his own company, “media-collab" to support digital transformation of Japanese media. Daisuke is a board member of Digital Journalist EDucation Institute(D-JEDI) and Fact-check Initiative Japan.

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Raimundos Oki
The Oekusi Post, Chief Editor

Raimundos Oki is the founder of The Oekusi Post, serving as the news site's editor-in-chief. The freelance journalist and fact-checker, based in Dili, Timor-Leste, has had his work published in various international media outlets across the globe. Raimundos is also the recipient of the Balibo Five Fellowship, the UN Reham Al-Farra Fellowship, and the John Doherty Pacific Journalism Fellowship.

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Shinichi Yamaguchi
The Center for Global Communications, International University of Japan, Associate Professor

Shinichi Yamaguchi is an associate professor at Center for Global Communications, International University of Japan. He has a PhD in Economics from Keio University, majoring in econometrics. His research interests include social media and the digital economy. He's frequently quoted in the news, including NHK and Nikkei. He was awarded the KDDI Foundation Award, the Takamiya Award of Academic Association for Organizational Science, the Paper Award of The Japan Society of Information and Communication Research (twice), and the Telecommunications Incentive Award in Social Studies. He also authored; The Complete Book of Social Media (Keiso Shobo), Who are The Extreme People? (Kobunsha Co., Ltd.), Why It’s Profitable (Soshisha Publishing), The Economics of Flaming and Word-of-Mouth (Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc.), etc. In addition, he is an affiliate researcher at The University of Tokyo, a director of Risk Communication Institute of Japan, and an advisor of SIEMPLE Inc., GREE, Inc., Mercari, Inc., Polimill Co.,Ltd., Creator Economy Association. He is also a member of several government (MIC, MHLW) committees.

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Sophia Xu
AFP, Asia-Pacific Regional Digital Training Manager, AFP Fact Check

Sophia Xu leads AFP's digital journalism training programme in Asia-Pacific as the Regional Digital Training Manager for AFP Fact Check. She joined AFP in 2020 as a digital verification editor for Asia. She has been a journalist working in digital news-gathering, UGC verification, fact-checking and journalism training since 2012 in various newsrooms globally including Storyful, First Draft, Phoenix TV and HKU Journalism and Media Centre.​ She has trained hundreds of journalists and students in digital journalism through workshops and talks with Google News Initiative, newsrooms, NGOs and universities in Asia. She has also written for First Draft News, Global Policy and the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

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Fergus Bell
Fathm, Founder & CEO

Fergus Bell is the founder & CEO at Fathm, a multi-award winning independent news lab, agency and consultancy. Fathm has a mission of working with people who are trying to spark creative change and drive sustainability in media by improving newsroom processes and efficiency, making use of emerging technologies, and tackling the ever increasing problems of mis and disinformation.

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Nick Cheam

Nick is a secondary school student in Malaysia and a participant of Google News Initiative's Youth Verification Challenge. He co-founded a Discord channel to group campaign participants together as a space for the challengers to connect, beyond the live chat that is available on Google's platform during the challenge itself.

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Peerapon Anutarasoat
Sure And Share Center, MCOT, Fact Checker & Manager

After over a decade as a journalist, in 2014 Peerapon came up with the idea that eventually became Thailand's first fact-checking TV program. The show became a platform for improving information literacy among Thais, with debunks covering various issues. He's also a tech journalist, blogger, voiceover talent and a drummer.

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Jirapat Suwannapan
Sure And Share Center, MCOT, Fact Checker & UX/UI

Jirapat graduated in Sociology and Anthropology and has nearly 2 years experience at Sure And Share Center, MCOT. As part of the fact-checking initiative, she's responsible for administrating and managing content on social media targeting the youth, vis a vis TikTok. She's also a video editor.

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Adnan Topan Husodo
Indonesia Corruption Watch, Coordinator

Adnan is the current Coordinator for ICW. His interest is in corruption investigation, research on public policy and good governance, including -but not limited to- in the government procurement sector, organizational development.

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Kyu Kyu Thein
TikTok, Public Policy Manager

Kyu Kyu is a public policy expert with a background in technology policy and government relations, particularly focusing on policy programs and strategy development. At TikTok, Kyu Kyu is currently leading the government relations and public affairs for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. She is also in charge of policy programs for nine countries in Southeast Asia launching vaccine educational campaigns during the height of the pandemic, mental health awareness programs, and digital literacy campaigns. Before joining TikTok, she worked for Facebook (Meta) for four years drafting and executing global policies while forging relationships with various government and national stakeholders in APAC.

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Yvonne T. Chua
University of the Philippines, Associate Professor

Yvonne T. Chua is an associate professor of journalism at the University of the Philippines. A longtime journalist, she has been associated with four fact-checking initiatives: Vera Files Fact Check, which she started in 2016 and led till early 2019;, a pioneering collaborative fact-checking initiative for the 2019 and 2022 Philippine elections; the student-driven FactRakers for her students at the university; and the Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator project, which has been assisting fact-checking operations of five Philippine newsrooms. She has done research on disinformation, hate speech, dangerous speech, and media and democracy.

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Shalini Joshi
Meedan, Program Director

Shalini Joshi is Program Director for Training and Network at Meedan. As a regional lead, Shalini is involved in expanding Meedan's work and its global network in the Asia Pacific region. Shalini provides support to fact-checkers, newsrooms and academics involved in addressing and researching misinformation. Shalini is also the co-founder of Khabar Lahariya, India's only independent, digital news network available to viewers in remote rural areas and small towns.

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Dilrukshi Handunnetti
Center for Investigative Reporting Sri Lanka, Executive Director

Dilrukshi Handunnetti is an international award-winning investigative journalist and a lawyer from Sri Lanka. She has worked extensively across South Asia, both as an on ground reporter and trainer, dedicating much of her time to working with women journalists in the region. As an investigative journalist, she has broken stories on grand corruption and crime, conflict and communities, and dedicated significant time to report on women, children, health and environment. Her work has appeared in UK Guardian, New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Humanitarian, Mongabay and many others.

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Summer Chen
Taiwan FactCheck Center, Chief Editor

Summer Chen is the Chief Editor of Taiwan FactCheck Center. Prior to becoming a fact-checker, she was a journalist for a daily economic newspaper. Summer got into fact-checking in 2019 and now leads the team which won the Best Corrected award at Global Fact7. TFC is part of the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance which came together in 2020, and has consistently published debunks on various topics including the recent China military exercises.

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Jon Roozenbeek
University of Cambridge, Postdoctoral Fellow

Jon Roozenbeek is the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge's Social Decision-Making Lab. His research focuses on misinformation, vaccine hesitancy, online extremism and polarization. As part of his research, he co-developed the award-winning fake news games Bad News, Harmony Square and Go Viral. Jon is currently writing two books with Cambridge University Press: The Psychology of Misinformation; and Influence, Information and War in Ukraine.

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Jared Kong
Gushcloud International US, Country Head (US) | General Manager

Jared Kong is US Head and General Manager at Gushcloud. With a double major in Law and Arts from The Australian National University, Jared started his career as the Legal Associate at Nicholas & Tan Partnership LLP. He then moved towards his passion in Entertainment and joined Zouk as their legal counsel. Jared has taken upon many responsibilities in Gushcloud, including Business and Legal, Artiste and Repertoire.

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Michelle Wong
Lab Muffin Beauty Science, Content Creator

Michelle Wong is a science educator and cosmetic chemist with a PhD in chemistry. She's behind Lab Muffin Beauty Science, where she explains the science behind beauty products for a general audience. Founded in 2011, Lab Muffin Beauty Science receives 2 million page views per year, and has an Instagram following of 389 000 and a YouTube audience of 343 000. Through her science education work, Michelle has worked with many brands on campaigns, including L'Oreal, P&G and Johnson & Johnson. Her work has been featured in international publications including the New York Times, Elle, The Atlantic and Huffington Post.

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Aya Lowe
Meta, Integrity Partnerships, APAC

Aya heads Integrity Partnerships and Programs across the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining Facebook Aya has over 10 years experience working as a journalist across Middle East and Asia.

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Sam Gregory
WITNESS, Director of Programs, Strategy and Innovation

Sam Gregory is Director of Programs, Strategy and Innovation at the global human rights and civic journalism network WITNESS. He is an expert on smartphone witnessing, deepfakes and new forms of media manipulation.

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Hannah Perry
Love Frankie, Senior Research Advisor

Hannah Perry is a Senior Research Advisor to Love Frankie, a Bangkok-based, APAC social impact agency; a Shirley Scholar at the Oxford Internet Institute 2022-2023 and former educator. Hannah has led a range of misinformation and education studies for governments, technology and aid organisations throughout APAC. She led a regional research study on behalf of GNI and ANNIE between 2021-2022 and will present findings that highlight opportunities to scale the impact of news and information education initiatives across the region.

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Trinna Leong
Google News Lab, Teaching Fellow, Southeast Asia

Trinna runs newsroom trainings for Southeast Asia. A former journalist, Trinna had worked for local and international publications focusing on politics, economy and general news with articles published in Reuters, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal and The Straits Times.

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Irene Jay Liu
Google, Head of APAC, News Lab

Irene Jay Liu leads the Google News Lab in the Asia-Pacific region. She was previously an investigative reporter and data editor at Reuters, where she was a 2017 Pulitzer finalist in the national reporting category. Earlier, she worked at the South China Morning Post and as a political reporter with the Times Union in Albany, New York. Before relocating to Singapore, she taught data-driven investigative journalism at the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong.