Ressa: Role of journalism more important as PH enters ‘new phase’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — Veteran journalist Maria Ressa, who was recently awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, underscored the key role of journalism as the country elects its new leaders in the 2022 polls.

In an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Final Word, Ressa said, “the role of journalism in a fully functioning democracy is actually to make the government better. To help government make better decisions.”

“The reason we ask questions is not to trip them up. It is actually to help them find the right choice. The mission of journalism is more important today and I would really like to see us working better together,” she added.

The chief executive officer of online news organization Rappler shares the recognition with Dmitry Muratov of Russia. The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited their efforts in fighting for freedom of expression in their respective countries.

Ressa also noted how the coming 2022 elections will be a “battle for facts,” with trolls trying to spread disinformation online, making journalism ever more important.

“Each of us is entitled to our own opinion but not to our own facts,” she added. “Please go back to the facts...Think slow, not fast.”

The journalist encouraged Filipinos to use social media platforms as their means to find their voice and create communities of action. The country is at an existential moment that will determine whether democracy in the country survives, she added.

“The world, as we knew it, it’s gone, and we are now in the process of building it,” Ressa said.

“This is a burst of adrenaline as we move into the next phase, which we are walking into elections. We are at the tail-end of the Duterte administration. We can demand accountability, we can create the future,” she added.

Ressa is the first Filipino to receive the award and the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize this year.

As some celebrate her win, there are also those who question if she deserved the award, adding that press freedom was never an issue in the Philippines.

In response, Ressa said: “It’s okay, everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether it's educated or not.”

READ: Palace: Ressa's Nobel Peace Prize 'not a slap' on Duterte administration