Sunderland-raised BBC broadcaster Kate Adie has warned there are "threats to journalists everywhere" as she picked up an honour from the Queen.
A renowned war correspondent, the former Church High School pupil received a CBE for her "services to the media" at the ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.
Speaking about the future of broadcasting following the ceremony, Ms Adie, 73, said: "I feel so strongly about freedom of speech and the importance of journalism in democracy.
"We seem to be living through a time where there are threats to journalists everywhere, whether it's repression or censorship, and it's hugely important to recognise that the intention of journalism is to tell it as it is and we need to do that more than ever now."
She said that accusations of fake news are "spread out of nervousness" and that confidence was needed in journalists to "recognise that they do a good job".
She said: "You feel you have a job to do but it's not just pictures and words and TV, it's telling people that this goes on in our world."
Ms Adie received the honour alongside former University Challenge host Bamber Gascoigne, 83, who was awarded for his services to the arts.
She added: "It's so lovely to come here, I was here years ago as a court reporter in the basement and now I'm here.
"I suppose as a journalist you never think something like this would happen, it's a job that's taken me to all sorts of places.
"I care about these stories where I think people's stories needed to be told."