Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa's Warning on Elections and the Role of AI in Journalism

Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa's Warning on Elections and the Role of AI in Journalism.lelemuku.com.jpg

WASHINGTON, LELEMUKU.COM – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, editor and CEO of Rappler, a prominent news website based in Manila, issued a stark warning on the future of democracy during a gathering of journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ressa, known for her commitment to independent journalism and her battles against autocratic leaders, highlighted the pivotal role that upcoming elections, including those in Taiwan, Indonesia, and the United States in 2024, will play in determining the fate of democracy worldwide.

Ressa emphasized the importance of these elections, saying, "We’ll know whether democracy lives or dies by the end of 2024." She expressed concerns about the rise of illiberal leaders being elected democratically, citing a Swedish study indicating that 72% of the world's population lives under authoritarian rule. Ressa cautioned that without the integrity of facts, elections cannot maintain their integrity.

The editor also discussed the troubling trend of autocrats using social media to consolidate power. Ressa's own experience at Rappler, which faced the ire of former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte due to its critical coverage of his administration's controversial war on drugs, exemplifies the risks journalists face when holding leaders accountable.

In January, a Manila court acquitted Ressa of tax evasion charges, but she is currently appealing a cyber-libel conviction. Despite these challenges, she remains a staunch advocate for the role of journalism in safeguarding democracy.

Ressa acknowledged the use of artificial intelligence (AI) at Rappler during the 2022 Philippine presidential campaign, where the news outlet utilized generative AI to create biographies for the 18,000 candidates running for various offices. While Rappler's researchers ensured the accuracy of the information generated by AI, it demonstrated the potential of technology in enhancing journalism's capabilities.

Regarding social media's impact on elections, Ressa discussed the use of AI to mitigate concerns about false information. Rappler adopted AI measures to ensure the data used was within specified parameters, reducing the potential for misinformation.

Maria Ressa's Nobel Prize win in December 2021 was accompanied by her critique of the "toxic sludge" of disinformation propagated by social media platforms. She called for greater efforts to combat the hate and disinformation that undermines serious journalism and polarizes public discourse.

Ressa's commitment to upholding the principles of journalism and democracy remains steadfast. She continues to advocate for the protection of citizens' rights to privacy, condemning abuses against the free press, and proposing legislation to ban surveillance advertising. Additionally, Ressa has called for measures to protect media freedom and the appointment of a UN special envoy focused on the safety of journalists.

As the world grapples with the challenges posed by disinformation and authoritarianism, Maria Ressa's warning serves as a call to action for journalists, democracies, and tech companies to work collectively to safeguard the integrity of elections and the future of democracy. (Benar News)

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