Maria Ressa urges journalists to "hold the line"; hits social-media giants fueling "toxic sludge"

by Rachelle Siazon
Dec 12, 2021
Maria Ressa Nobel Peace Prize speech
An excerpt from Maria Ressa's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: "You have to know what values you are fighting for, you have to draw the lines early, but if you haven’t done so, please, do it now—where this side you’re good, this side, you’re evil. Some governments may be lost causes, and if you’re working in tech, I’m talking to you."
PHOTO/S: Screengrab from Rappler YouTube

"What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth?"

Ito ang tanong na iniwan ng veteran journalist at Rappler CEO na si Maria Ressa sa kanyang speech nang tanggapin ang iginawad sa kanyang Nobel Peace Prize.

Personal siyang dumalo sa awarding ceremony na naganap sa Oslo, Norway noong December 10, 2021.

Si Ressa ang kauna-unahang Filipino na ginawaran ng Nobel Peace Prize.

Siya ay kinilala ng Norwegian Nobel Committee dahil sa kanyang matapang na paggamit ng freedom of expression "to expose abuse of power, use of violence, and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines."

Puno ng emosyon, pero tahasang inihayag ni Ressa ang karanasan niyang manindigan sa kanyang brand of journalism na ang pundasyon ay "code of honor."

Nahatulang guilty sa salang cyber libel si Ressa noong June 2020.

Hindi raw madali ang hinarap niyang sampung arrest warrants at sampung beses na pagpiyansa sa nagdaang dalawang taon.

Pero hindi raw siya padadaig sa dinadaanang pagsubok sa paniniwalang nasa panig siya ng katotohanan.

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"But the more I was attacked for my journalism, the more resolute I became.

"I had firsthand evidence of abuse of power.

"What was meant to intimidate me and Rappler only strengthened us," diin ni Ressa.

Ipinunto niya na ang pagtaguyod ng demokrasya at paglaban sa pasismo ay nakasalalay sa "woman-to-woman, man-to-man defense of our values."

Sabi pa niya sa isang bahagi ng kanyang 20-minute speech:

"You have to know what values you are fighting for, you have to draw the lines early, but if you haven’t done so, please, do it now—where this side you’re good, this side, you’re evil.

"Some governments may be lost causes, and if you’re working in tech, I’m talking to you."

ON social-media giants being "biased against facts"

Nanawagan rin si Ressa sa journalists na mas maging alerto sa pagbabantay sa disinformation na laganap sa social media.

Ipinaliwanag niya na ang journalists ang maituturing na "old gatekeepers" at tagapagdala ng katotohanan, habang ang mga kumpanyang may hawak ng "technology" ang "new gatekeeper" na may "god-like power."

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Ang tinutukoy niyang tech giants ay ang mga "American Internet companies" sa likod ng social-media platforms na matindi ang impluwensiya sa iba-ibang nasyon.

Aniya, "It has allowed a virus of lies to infect each of us, pitting us against each other, bringing out our fears, anger, hate, and setting the stage for the rise of authoritarians and dictators around the world."

Binanggit din ni Ressa kung paanong ang advanced technology sa Internet ay kumukulekta ng personal information para sa database, na ibinebenta sa "highest bidder" para sa "highly profitable micro-targetting operations" na maaaring kumontrol o magmanipula ng malayang kaisipan at kalooban ng tao.

"These destructive corporations have siphoned money away from news organizations and now they pose a foundational threat to markets and elections," diin niya.

Sabay tukoy niya sa isang social-media giant: "Facebook is the world’s largest distributor of news, and yet studies have shown that lies laced with anger and hate spread faster and further than facts.

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"These American companies controlling our global information ecosystem are biased against facts, biased against journalists.

"They are, by design, dividing us and radicalizing us."

Ano na lang daw ang mangyayari kung napagtatakpan o nadi-distort ang katotohanan?

"Without truth, you can’t have trust.

"Without trust, we have no shared reality, no democracy, and it becomes impossible to deal with the existential problems of our times: climate, coronavirus, now, the battle for truth."

maria RESSA STILL BELIEVES IN THE GOOD

Paglilinaw naman ni Ressa, kailangang ding yakapin at gamitin ng journalists ang technology para sa pagpapalaganap ng totoong balita.

Pero matindi ang hamon para labanan ang "toxic sludge" o nakakalasong basura, tulad ng disinformation.

"Our greatest need today is to transform that hate and violence, the toxic sludge that’s coursing through our information ecosystem, prioritized by American internet companies that make more money by spreading that hate and triggering the worst in us.

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"Well, that just means we have to work harder.

"In order to be the good, we have to believe there is good in the world."

Apela niya, "Please, let’s hold the line together."

Si Ressa ay higit 35 taon nang journalist. Siya ay nakilala nang patakbuhin niya ang Jakarta bureau ng CNN mula 1995 hanggang 2005.

Pinamunuan rin niya ang ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs at tumayong Senior Vice-President ng ABS-CBN Broadcasting mula 2005 hanggang 2011.

Noong 2012 itinatag niya ang Rappler, kunsaan siya ay CEO at Executive Editor hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

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An excerpt from Maria Ressa's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: "You have to know what values you are fighting for, you have to draw the lines early, but if you haven’t done so, please, do it now—where this side you’re good, this side, you’re evil. Some governments may be lost causes, and if you’re working in tech, I’m talking to you."
PHOTO/S: Screengrab from Rappler YouTube
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