Maria Ressa: ‘Next few years will decide if democracy survives’

Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa says the election of Ferdinand Marcos Jr in the Philippines proved that disinformation can turn democracies upside down.

Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without this, you have no shared reality, you don’t have democracy. You cannot solve any problems globally.

How can you have integrity of elections, if you don’t have integrity of facts?

I think our elections are truly emblematic of the impact of disinformation spread through social media.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr won the presidency in the Philippines on the back of an overwhelming number of information operations that began as early as 2014. The disinformation networks used by his campaign literally changed the history of the Philippines in front of our eyes – they turned Marcos Sr from a pariah to a hero.

And as a result, Marcos Jr  was elected by an overwhelming majority. And unbelievably, in September, on the 50th anniversary of his father’s martial law order, he will become the new president of this country.

We are seeing illiberal leaders elected with the help of such disinformation operations all around the world.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa argues the next few years will be crucial to the survival of democracy as we know it.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.