Maria Angelita Ressa (born October 2, 1963) is a Filipino-American journalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. She is known as the co-founder and CEO of the online publication Rappler. Prior to that, she worked for nearly two decades as a leading investigative journalist for CNN in Southeast Asia. Ressa is described as "perhaps the most famous of the Filipino journalists."
Time mentioned Ress in the Man of the Year 2018 list among other journalists struggling with fake news. On February 13, 2019, she was arrested on charges of publishing defamation against businessman Wilfredo Keng. On June 15, 2020, a Manila court found her guilty of libel. As an outspoken critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, her persecution is seen by the international journalistic community as politically motivated. Ressa is one of 25 members of the Commission on Information and Democracy set up by Reporters Without Borders.
Maria Angelita Ressa was born in Manila in 1963. Ressy's father died when she was one year old, when her mother moved to the United States, leaving Maria Angelita and her sister with their father's family, but she often returned and took care of her children. Her mother later married an American of Italian descent and took the girls to the United States. Ten-year-old Ressa was adopted by her mother's second husband and adopted the Italian surname of her stepfather. The family settled in Toms River, New Jersey, the girl attended a high school near the city.
Ressa studied molecular biology and theater at Princeton University, where she eventually received a bachelor's degree in English and certificates in theater and dance in 1986. She later received a Fulbright scholarship to study political theater at Diliman University in the Philippines.
Ressy's first job was on the state-run Philippine channel PTV 4. She later co-founded the independent manufacturing company Probe in 1987 and at the same time served as head of CNN's Manila office, where she worked until 1995. She then ran CNN's Jakarta office from 1995 to 2005. As a leading CNN reporter in Asia, she specializes in investigating terrorist networks.
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