When Maria Ressa learned, via Twitter, that she was among the group of journalists Time magazine recognized as “Person of the Year” — “Guardians” in the “war on truth” — her immediate thought was sobering, indeed.
Ever the careful journalist, Ressa, founder and editor of Rappler, a Philippine news site that has reported courageously on President Rodrigo Duterte’s increasingly authoritarian government, first verified that she was indeed one of the journalists Time lauded “for taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths.”
“Then, I was like, ‘Oh, my God. I’m the only one who is free and alive,’’’ said Ressa in an interview last weekend with CTV National News chief anchor, Lisa LaFlamme, during Democracy Xchange, an annual democracy summit held in Toronto.
That fact that the other journalists Time honoured “for speaking up and speaking out” are now either murdered or imprisoned makes Ressa’s voice even more vital in a world where truth is increasingly at risk in the face of viral social media disinformation campaigns, and also in jeopardy are our democratic norms that depend on accurate information.