Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa: We must get rid of the hatred

Maria RessaPhoto: Cornelius Poppe / NTB

There is an arms race underway in the information ecosystem, Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa stated on Friday.

“What we need most today is to reverse the hatred and the violence, this toxic turbidity that flows through our information ecosystem,” the world-famous Filipino journalist emphasized in her Nobel address in Oslo City Hall on Friday.

She believes this information ecosystem is decisive for everything else in the world, and targets tech giants like Facebook in particular.

“Social media is a deadly game about power and money. These American companies that control our global information ecosystem give a distorted picture of facts, a distorted picture of journalists. They are designed to divide and radicalize us. They make even more money by spreading hatred and provoking the worst in us,” she stated.

Ressa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 together with the Russian journalist and editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov. This is the first time since 1936 that journalists have received the Peace Prize.

Decisive turning point

“By awarding this prize to journalists today, the Nobel Committee is sending a signal that this is a historic moment, a decisive turning point for democracy,” Ressa said.

“No facts – no truth. Without truth, there is no trust. Without trust, there is no shared reality, no democracy, and then it becomes impossible to deal with the existential problems the world faces today: climate, coronavirus, and the fight for the truth,” the journalist stated. 

But she has not allowed herself to be gagged despite the authorities issuing multiple arrest warrants against her, she told a packed hall in Oslo City Hall.

“The harder I was attacked for my journalism, the more determined I became,” she said.

Ressa also highlighted several journalists and Filipino colleagues who have been persecuted, including 23-year-old journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who has spent almost two years in prison for allegedly making false allegations on the possession of a weapon.

“Female journalists are most at risk,” she said.

Better protection and stricter laws

According to Ressa, the solution is to ensure that independent journalism survives, among other things, through assistance and stronger protection of journalists, as well as to introduce much stricter regulation of the information networks.

At the same time, she addressed an appeal to everyone:

“You must know what values ​​you are fighting for, and you must draw a line early. If you have not done it before, do it now,” she said.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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