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Ressa: ‘Integrity of facts’ gives integrity to elections, meaning to democracy

MANILA—An information ecosystem controls the world’s reality, and journalists who used to be gatekeepers of such an ecosystem have been replaced by technology, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and journalist Maria Ressa said on Wednesday.

In a discussion on media freedom and sustainability at the Summit for Democracy held virtually by the United States Department of State Ressa said this information ecosystem was under attack, and ” the world must come together to prevent the worst of humanity from becoming the norm.”

“For some reason, we have allowed lies laced with anger and hate to actually spread faster and further than facts. This has been exploited. It started out as a marketing and advertising tool, but now it’s been exploited by power and, worse, geopolitical power,” Ressa said.

She said journalism and technology should be seen as “2 sides of the same coin,” and as a signifier of the state of democracy.

“If you don’t have integrity of facts, how can you have integrity of elections? How can democracy have meaning if we don’t have facts underpinning our shared reality?” Ressa said.

Ressa has been served with 10 arrest warrants in the past 2 years, and was only able to receive her Nobel Peace Prize after being allowed by the Court of Appeals.
“I am out on bail, and had to post bail 10 times just for doing my job as a journalist,” she said.

Ressa’s fellow Nobel Peace laureate, Dmitri Muratov, also delivered a message in support for media freedom.
The Summit for Democracy will continue until Friday, December 10, to discuss the roles of different sectors in renewing democracy, and will end with remarks by US President Joe Biden. (W.Cos, abs-cbn)

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