Press Forward celebrates journalist Maria Ressa for the IWMF’s #journoheroes month. Ressa has undertaken great risks to tell the truth and pursue investigative journalism in the Philippines.
After working as an investigative reporter for CNN and head of news for the Philippine TV station ABS-CBN, Ressa founded Rappler, a digital news media site based in Manila. Her news organization has earned a large audience, and it is growing, but it has also garnered the attention of the government and President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte first singled out Rappler in his in his State of the Nation speech in 2017. Since January 2018, Ressa says she has had to post bail eight times, and the government has charged her with tax evasion, defamation, and violation of security laws.
She has vowed to press on, and Rappler has led investigations of corruption by the government, and its widespread of use of trolls and disinformation through social media platforms to curry political support and win elections.
Ressa and her colleagues have also aggressively covered Duterte’s war on drugs, in which thousands of people have been killed. According to The Financial Times, “Duterte has presided over more deaths of his own people than any leader in south-east Asia since Cambodia’s Pol Pot.”
Press Forward salutes Ressa, and her women-led team at Rappler.
Ressa told the FT, “Maybe they [the Philippine government] don’t know the founders of Rappler. We don’t intimidate easily, the women of Rappler.”