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The co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize lashes out at the giants of the web

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Co-founder of the news site To recall, Ms. Ressa received the prestigious award at Oslo City Hall together with Russian Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, rare newspaper still independent in a media landscape largely in control in Russia.

Faced with a small audience, COVID-19 obliges, the Filipino journalist, 58, attacked the American Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, without naming them explicitly.

the lie virus

With their almost divine power, she said, their technology allowed the virus of lies to infect each of us, pitting us against each other, bringing out our fears, anger and hatred, and paving the way for the rise of authoritarian rulers and dictators.

Our greatest need today is to transform this hate and violence, the toxic sludge that runs through our information ecosystem, favored by American Internet companies that make more money as they spread this hate. and trigger what is worst in us, she asserted.

Under the gaze of members of the Norwegian royal family protected by sanitary masks, Ms. Ressa stressed the importance of reliable information in times of pandemic or elections such as those to be announced next year in the Philippines, but also in France, the United States and Hungary.

These American companies […] divide and radicalize us, she stressed.

At the helm of To recall, a very critical site of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Ms. Ressa is the subject of seven lawsuits in her country which could, according to her, earn her a total of a hundred years in prison.

Convicted of defamation last year, but on parole, she was forced to ask four courts for permission to seek her Nobel.

Its 60-year-old co-laureate, Mr Muratov, observed a moment of silence for reporters killed in the exercise of their profession.

I want journalists to die old.

A quote from Dmitri Muratov, co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

Known for his investigations into corruption and human rights abuses in Chechnya, Novaya Gazeta has seen six of his collaborators killed since the 1990s, including the famous journalist Anna Politkovskaya, murdered in 2006.

Journalism in Russia is going through a dark period, underlined the editor-in-chief, referring to the hundreds of journalists, media, human rights defenders and NGOs classified as foreign agents by the Russian Ministry of Justice.

Supposed to target those who receive a foreign funding and lead a political activity, the status offoreign agent is often attributed to critics of the Kremlin, a designation that greatly complicates their activity.

Dmitri Muratov delivering a speech.

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov spoke in Oslo.

Photo: AP / Alexander Zemlianichenko

Even if he accepts half of the check for 10 million Nobel crowns and if Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the prize is not a shieldMr. Muratov said he was sure to escape this infamous status.

years of existence of our newspaper, we have done so many positive things for the country that to declare ourselves agents of the foreigner would be harmful for the power of our country “,” text “:” I think that during the 30 years of ‘existence of our newspaper, we have done so many positive things for the country that to declare ourselves foreign agents would be detrimental to the power of our country “}}”>I think that in the 30 years of our newspaper’s existence, we have done so many positive things for the country that declaring ourselves agents from abroad would be detrimental to the power of our country. and would be something stupid, he said in an interview with AFP.

Journalism contributes to peace

As of December 1, at least 1,636 journalists had been killed on the planet for 20 years, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), including 46 since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, with 293 reporters behind bars, the number of journalists imprisoned around the world has never been higher, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Reporting information to the public can in itself prevent war, underlined the president of the Norwegian Nobel committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen. The role of the press is to lift the veil on aggression and abuse of power, and thus to contribute to peace.

Berit Reiss-Andersen.  president of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, President of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, praised the work of the journalists.

Photo: AP / Heiko Junge

The Oslo ceremony also saw the head of the World Food Program (WFP), David Beasley, deliver the Nobel acceptance speech awarded last year to the UN humanitarian agency. In 2020, the festivities were canceled due to the pandemic.

For the same reasons, the winners of the other 2021 Nobels (medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics), usually awarded to Stockholm, have all already received them this week in their countries of residence.

A ceremony in their honor is however organized in the Swedish capital, in the presence of the royal family.

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