: ‘It Is a Battle for Facts.’ What Nobel Peace Prize Winner Maria Ressa Understands About Why She Was Chosen #WorldNEWS If Maria Ressa long has been known to people who follow the news, she has become
‘It Is a Battle for Facts.’ What Nobel Peace Prize Winner Maria Ressa Understands About Why She Was Chosen #WorldNEWS
If Maria Ressa long has been known to people who follow the news, she has become absolutely essential to anyone grappling with why the news has gotten harder and harder to follow.
Born in Manila and raised in New Jersey, Ressa, who is 58, worked for CNN for years, then in 2012 co-founded Rappler, a vibrant online news site in the Philippines. Four years later an incendiary populist named Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of a country where, a practical matter, Facebook is the Internet. Rappler exposed the hidden hand of his supporters in viral posts, trolls and malign disinformation, as well as the feebleness of Facebook’s efforts to police itself. Since then Ressa has lived at the dangerous intersection of despotism and social media. Arrested, threatened and harassed online, in 2018 she was named a TIME Person of the Year under the heading, “The Guardians and the War on Truth. ”
And now Ressa has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, along with Dmitry Muratov, a founder of Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper at which six reporters have been murdered. A few hours after getting the news from Oslo, Ressa spoke to TIME by phone from Manila. Her new book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future, is slated for publication in April.
Moises Saman—Magnum Photos for TIME
Congratulations. What do you think the impact will be of this? When TIME named you a Person of the Year in 2018, you talked about its practical effect in protecting you and your work.
It was a shield. It acted like a shield. And it actually helped us survive because that was December 2018, and my arrests began like two or three months later, and it was going to get worse. Imagine if you hadnt done that.
That was also when I realized that the only defense we have is to shine the light. And you had given us more battery power, a global megaphone. And that gave us breathing space to keep doing our jobs. It could have been much worse, I think, without.
So what does the Nobel Peace Prize do?
Oh, my gosh, I cant quite fathom yet. I shouldn’t say this, but I thought it would be [Alexei] Navalny. But it does make sense. The statement they made is exactly the same reason why you did the Guardians in 2018. The platforms that deliver the news are biased against news. And we are being insidiously manipulated. All of that is breaking down trust. Journalists are the target of this.
Read More: Maria Ressa: We Cant Let the Virus Infect Democracy
Its like we bought into a digital landscape that commoditizes news. So the real news that we do, which takes time and money, is placed in the same setting as the gossip down the street.
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