Social media platforms put elections at risk, says Nobel Peace Prize winner Ressa
By Nerijus Adomaitis
OSLO (Reuters) – Elections around the world cannot be conducted with integrity as long as social media platforms amplify lies about the facts, Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa said on Thursday, a day before receiving the award together with Russian Dmitry Muratov.
Journalists won the award for their efforts to protect freedom of expression at a time when free, independent and factual journalism is under fire from criticism, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said when the award was announced in October.
Ressa is from the Philippines, which voted in May to choose a successor to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It will be impossible to have the integrity of the elections if you do not have the integrity of the facts and this is currently the case,” Ressa said at a press conference, referring to the elections in the Philippines and somewhere else.
“Because, by design, social media platforms, which disseminate information, amplify and spread on your news feeds lies about facts. “
Ressa, co-founder of the Rappler news site, has made her mark thanks to investigative reporting, including large-scale killings during a police campaign against drugs.
Its co-winner, Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitri Muratov, said authoritarian rulers were undermining democratic institutions at the risk of peace.
“The lack of belief in democracy means that over time people turn their backs on democracy, you will have a dictator and dictatorship leads to war,” Muratov said at the press conference.
Ressa and Muratov are the first journalists to receive the award since German Carl von Ossietzky won the 1935 award for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament program.
Both hoped the prize would encourage a new generation to fight lies and propaganda and make it safer for existing generations.
“I hope (the price) will make it safer for journalists,” Ressa said. “The only weapon is to shine the light and keep doing our job.”
(Written by Nerijus Adomaitis and Gwladys Fouché; edited by Angus MacSwan)