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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  December 13, 2021 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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this is bbc news. we will have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour as newsday continues straight after hardtalk. welcome to a special edition of hardtalk from oslo venue for the annual awards ceremony for the nobel peace prize. my two guests today are the joint winners of that prize. both of them are independent journalists who have defied threats and repression to continue their work. maria ressa is founder of the rappler news website in the philippines. dmitry muratov, the long
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time editor in chief of novaya gazeta in russia. now, this is a fight for freedom of expression. but is it a fight they are losing? maria ressa, dmitry muratov, welcome both of you to hardtalk. thanks for having us. thank you. i must begin by congratulating you both on this award. congratulations. but also, how strange does it feel for you to to be here? you are experienced journalists, used to reporting on the activities of others, aand here you are the centre of this story yourself. how strange does it feel?
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dmitry? maria, winner of the nobel peace prize? you know the painting the scream? that's it! i too. what does it mean, do you think? notjust for you personally, because of course, there must be enormous satisfaction, but you sit here as the first journalists to win this award since 1935. what do you think it says that you've won it this year?
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maria, dmitry�*s answer took in the fact that over many years he has seen journalists working for him and for novaya gazeta killed. the stakes are very high for independent journalism in a whole range of countries, including yours. do you feel the stakes are getting higher? it's existential. this is the moment. the last time a journalist won this, he languished in a concentration camp, a nazi concentration camp,
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and it feels like the nobel committee by spotlighting journalists are recognising a similar historical moment thatjournalists are under attack in ways that we've never experienced before. ithink, you know, and it's interesting with russia, when you live in a time when people cannot tell fact from fiction, when lies actually spread faster than facts, and here we are the journalists just trying to plug ourfinger in the hole in the dam, at great risk to ourselves, right? so, yeah, i think this is precisely why the nobel committee chose journalists. we're placeholders for the people. but i think they're saying this existential moment requires notjustjournalists, but people in every democracy to stand up and recognise the moment that we must act. do you think that the targeting
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ofjournalists, the repression of independentjournalistic voices is getting worse? because i noticejust as we meet here in oslo, the committee for the protection ofjournalists has announced new figures showing that 293 journalists were imprisoned in countries around the world in this year, 2021, and that is the highest annual number they have ever recorded. what do you think is going on? i want to quickly answer that, which is that it is getting exponentially worse.
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i want to quickly answer that, which is that it is getting exponentially worse. that's what we've i've lived through in the last five years. you know, i could never have imagined that we would be where we are today. i could go to jailfor the rest of my life. but beyond that, just yesterday, a day before two, 36 hours before we're supposed to deliver the nobel lecture. a former colleague of mine, a reporter who has worked on the reuters impunity series right there, actually the drug war series. he reports in a newspaper in the philippines. he was sitting in a store in front of his home, and one bullet to his head killed him.
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targeted assassination? that's certainly what it looks like, right? and then in addition to that, while i was packing my bags to come here, a cabinet secretary announces he filed a legal complaint, as another libel complaint, against seven news organisations in the philippines, who essentially reported during a press conference about the corruption accusations against him. so, yes, absolutely exponentially worse, and if we don't take the right steps forward, you know... i was telling you, stephen, we are like, you know, the wildebeest in migration, the journalists are the first ones who try to cross, but the crocodiles eat those stupid wildebeest, and then everyone else goes on top of our the carcasses. yes, iagree.
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i just want to ask you a very personal question, both of you,
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when you, for example, dmitry, have seen close colleagues of yours, people you commissioned to write stories, murdered. and when you, maria, write things and have colleagues write things on the rappler news website which lead you and your colleagues to get death threats and rape threats, as you have seen multiple times in recent years, has there ever been a point in both of your careers when you felt, "you know what, this is simply not worth it." maria, you first. no, no. you know, because in many instances... 0k, wait, let me... sometimes. but you sit there and youjust go, 0k, why are they doing this? you know, this is ridiculous. i mean, there is both the weaponisation of social media and then the weaponization of law coming top down, and obviously they want to make sure we don't do ourjobs.
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unlike russia, and maybe dmitry will disagree with this, we have a chance to restore our democracy in the philippines. you know, and so in many instances, for me, ifeel like whatever risks there are, i have tried to take the right precautions for my team, i have a very young team. our median age is 23 years old in rappler, and injanuary we willjust turn ten years old. in a way, that adds to the responsibility that you have to safeguard their security. yes. so it's notjust about yourself, it's about your care for others. and ijust wonder again whether sometimes there is seeds of doubt in your mind about whether it's right to send your reporters into the field to do another investigation about the killing of people supposedly involved in drugs crime in the philippines, when you know that it could lead yourjournalists into potentially fatal trouble. it's a self—selected group, right?
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in many instances when we came under attack, when the government tried to revoke our license to operate in january 2018, i actually sat down with all of rappler and i said, we're moving into a different place and time your parents may be worried about. you may be worried about. so if you want to let us know now and we will help you find a job in another news organisation. not one editorial person took that that offer. we know why we're doing what we're doing. and actually, when the older folks, the founders were, you know, older... when we get tired, our reporters are the ones who just won't stop. we have a chance to fight and restore our democracy. this is it. you laugh, dmitry. and i referred to the six journalists and you named them already who lost their lives working with you on your newspaper. we cannot get their lives back. and ijust wonder how you cope with the knowledge
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of those losses.
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you both operate in countries which could in one way or another be described as run by strongmen. some would say authoritarians. vladimir putin in russia, rodrigo duterte in the philippines.
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and the polls, for what they are worth, show that both those individuals command well over 60% approval. in duterte�*s case, it goes far beyond 60% approval from the public. are you as journalists — and this is a strange question — but are you somewhat disappointed in the publics that you write for? no, i'm not. they�* re being manipulated. we are being manipulated, starting with the technology that delivers the news. 100% of filipinos on the internet are on facebook. and yet, the social media platforms that deliver the news are literally biased against facts and they're biases against journalists. the information operations, the delivery of news weaponised, shifting reality, pushing the idea that president duterte is the best president ever in the whole wide world. all of these meta narratives have been seeded, so i don't blame our people, but i also don't think they literally that those surveys are accurate.
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i think that the truth is somewhere in between.
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but you both in different ways face a similar accusation that you somehow have become unpatriotic, that you have interests behind you that are not from your own countries, that you, maria, for example, were educated in the us, you have strong ties to the us, that you get some of your support and funding from people outside the philippines. dmitry, you too, you're accused of being the puppet of some anti—russia forces. i think now many of your journalists or colleagues... you are not a puppet, but the message coming from the kremlin is that you and journalists like you are being used as tools of the west. you are not a puppet, but the message coming from the kremlin is that you and journalists like you are being used as tools of the west.
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my question is, how strong is this argument that they use against you when it comes to public opinion, when it comes to the idea that you are being used by foreigners against the national interest? you have said that you will talk to virtually anybody in russian society in pursuit of yourjournalism.
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we know that you have some good friends who are, some would say, oligarchs. you have other friends who work inside the state media system. have you found a way to sort of navigate through the russian political system without compromising yourself? because many otherjournalists have been arrested, they have been sent into exile, they've had to flee for their lives. you have somehow survived. how have you done it?
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i want to ask you more about the changing technology, the internet, the way it's totally transformed information flows. i think it's fair to say 15 years ago, the assumption or the hope was that the internet was going to completely democratise our societies. it would empower people at the bottom. hierarchies would be changed from top down to bottom up. we all would have access to information at our fingertips, and that would improve our democracies. viewed from today, do you think that was wrong? terribly naive? that information flows thanks to the internet have empowered the authoritarians,
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not the citizens? i think we saw this very early with the arab spring and how quickly it turned into the arab winter, right? and we just didn't see it as a cautionary tale for countries like the philippines. naive, maybe. but at that time, it changed. it disrupted. but then what happened is the tech optimised to make more money. a business model shoshana zuboff calls surveillance capitalism. and when you did that, you know, that meant even... everyone focuses on the content moderation, it's not about content. move further upstream to where the algorithmic bias, the algorithms of distribution happen. and then you move further upstream to the top, which is where our data is extracted and mined, organised by ai, and then distributed through these algorithms, right? this part is wrong. so we weren't naive,
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but it was optimised to make more money for surveillance capitalism, in the process sacrificing fact and using micro—targeting. and this is what happened. countries began coming in using it for information warfare. but the way the way you talk, it makes me feel almost that you regard the greater long term threat to independent journalism, to free flows of information, to come from big tech and the way it operates, rather than from individual authoritarian rulers, whether it be duterte or indeed putin. in my priorities, putin and duterte have used the tech to exponentially increase the demise of democracy. back to your to the question of the attacks against us. of course they need to take down credible journalism because that's the first part. isn't that part of the dictator's playbook? my president following his president, you know.
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and then the second part of how how they have now been given an atom bomb, and the people who are who have felt that weapon are like the walking dead. look atjanuary 6, for example, on capitol hill in the united states. when they came to capitol hill, they believed it. and do you think, dmitry, in russia that the government you operate under has in a sense harnessed the internet for its own interests? you have both won the nobel peace prize because you've been hailed as fighters for freedom of expression, and that
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you have both won the nobel peace prize because you've been hailed as fighters for freedom of expression, and that matters fundamentally to the future of democracy, but do you believe this is a fight that you're losing? oh, lord. it's this time that matters. and the nobel light will help, but we have presidential elections on may 9. so will we win or lose? i mean, there are only two things that we need to fight
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for — facts and rule of law. you know, these elections will determine whether philippine democracy survives. whether i go to jail, whether rappler survives, there's so much there, right? so you can't give up the fight. so we keep going! and how well we do, whether we win, will be determined by what we do today. maria ressa and dmitry, muratov, i thank you both very much. and one more time, congratulations for winning the nobel prize for peace. thank you very much. thank you. thank you both.
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hello there. it was noticeably mild today right across the country, but particularly so for england and wales. now we look to the northwest through this evening and overnight, this deep area of low pressure — small system, but very vigorous — passing through the northwest of the uk, will bring a spell of gales to northern ireland and in towards scotland as well. stormy conditions for the hebrides and the northern isles, perhaps severe gales for a time, some blustery showers. it will turn drier here by the end of the night, but for england and wales, it'll stay cloudy with outbreaks of rain certainly through wales and into the midlands. mild in the south — double figure values here, little bit cooler further north. and that's how things look into monday. we hold onto the cloud for large parts of england and wales. we'll continue with this persistent rain as well for parts of wales in the midlands, into northern england, some areas pretty wet all day. brightest weather will be across scotland and northern ireland. a few blustery showers,
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wintry on the hills, will be milder across the south, single figures across the north. that weather front for england and wales clears away into tuesday. high pressure begins to build in here. it stays unsettled over the northern half of the country, lots of isobars and weather fronts. windy for scotland and northern ireland and some rain, particularly for the north and west of scotland. england and wales, closer to that area of high pressure, should be largely dry, some cloud around but also some good spells of sunshine. those temperatures will be around orjust a little above the seasonal norm. as we head out of tuesday into wednesday, we continue with that area of high pressure across the south of the country, so settled with light winds. still quite windy across the northern half of the country with further outbreaks of rain thanks to that weather front. so, with some wet weather, northern ireland, certainly for northern and western scotland, maybe a little bit of brightness at times. stays windy here, lighter winds in the south. again, variable cloud, some good spells of sunshine, temperatures perhaps a little bit higher again — double figure values for most. nights will be much milder as well, frost—free for most of us. then, beyond wednesday,
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we see this area of high pressure start to really take its force across the uk. that'll push the weather fronts away from the north. it'll be sitting on top of the by friday and into the following weekend, so it means winds will turn very light. so, there's a chance it turns really grey and gloomy by the end of the week, turning a bit colder as well as we head on into the new weekend, and we will see some problems with mist and fog.
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welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore. i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines: a desperate search for survivors in six us states devastated by powerful tornadoes. more than 90 people are now known to have been killed. my mother still doesn't know the house is gone and we're not going to tell her. reporter: why not? it'lljust break her heart. british prime minister borisjohnson warns that the uk faces an emergency, in the battle with the new omicron variant. he calls for a massive increase in boosterjabs. there is a tidal wave of omicron coming and i'm afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough.
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with a collapsing economy, afghanistan's drug trade

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