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Social media platforms jeopardize elections, says Nobel Peace Laureate Ressa

  • Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov will receive an award on Friday
  • Factual information crucial for peace, committee says

OSLO, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Elections around the world cannot be conducted with integrity as long as social media platforms amplify lies about facts, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa said on Thursday. before she received the prize together with the Russian Dmitry Muratov.

The journalists won the prize for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression at a time when free, independent and fact-based journalism is under criticism, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said when announcing the prize in October. Read more

Ressa is from the Philippines, which votes in May to choose a successor to President Rodrigo Duterte. Read more

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“It’s going to be impossible to have election integrity if you don’t have factual integrity and you currently do,” Ressa told a news conference, referring to the elections in the Philippines and somewhere else.

“Because, by design, social media platforms, which spread the news, amplify and feed your news feeds with lies about facts.”

Ressa, co-founder of news site Rappler, has made a name for herself through investigative reporting, including mass murders during a police campaign against drugs.

His co-winner, Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov, said authoritarian rulers undermine democratic institutions at the risk of peace.

“Lack of belief in democracy means that over time people turn their backs on democracy, you will have a dictator and dictatorship will lead 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 award in 1935 for exposing his country’s secret post-war rearmament program.

Both hoped the award would support a new generation to fight lies and propaganda and make it safer for those who already exist.

“I hope (the award) will make it safer for journalists,” Ressa said. “The only weapon is to shine the light and keep doing our job.”

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Written by Nerijus Adomaitis and Gwladys Fouché; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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