Independent media are “the bedrock of democracy,” said President Joe Biden in his opening remarks to the Summit for Democracy. His administration will launch an effort to sustain independent media around the world, which will include a defamation defense fund for journalists through the United States Agency for International Development, The Hill reports.
In awarding this year’s Peace Prize to journalists, the Nobel Committee were drawing attention to the “ticking time-bomb” that threatens democracies, Rappler’s Maria Ressa told Damon Wilson, the National Endowment for Democracy’s President and CEO (above). When journalists and free media are under attack, democracy itself is undermined, and the latest Press Freedom Index confirms the urgency of the threat.
It’s no coincidence that the last time the Nobel was awarded to a journalist, the recipient was the anti-Nazi Carl von Ossietzky, she added in a conversation to mark the Biden adminstration’s Summit for Democracy. He was recognized for exposing Germany’s clandestine re-armament, but forbidden from travelling to Norway to accept the prize as he languished in the Esterwegen concentration camp where he perished in 1938.
We are at a “sliding door moment for the world” in which “we can take one of two paths” – to renew democracy or descend into dystopia, Reesa told a NED forum on Rebuilding Democratic Momentum. In this respect, the Philippines is the proverbial canary in the coal mine or what Facebook itself called “patient zero,” she added. Filipinos’ high level of social media usage and dependence on Facebook made it an ideal experimental arena for groups like Cambridge Analytica seeking to manipulate technology for anti-democratic ends. See the whole thing.