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Multi-awarded journalist Maria Ressa is the first Filipino Nobel Prize laureate and a staunch defender of press freedom

Profile


Renowned journalist Maria Ressa is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist in one of the world’s most dangerous places to be: the media. Ressa admits to being afraid but musters up the courage to stand up for press freedom every day. She doesn’t do this for the Philippines alone.

Her books Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qeda’s Newest Centre of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook report the rise of terrorism in the region, while her latest title Standing Up to a Dictator will see publication in 2022.

Ressa has done all these as her digital news website Rappler faces cases of tax evasion and cybercrimes as attempts to be silenced by the government she so vocally criticises.

Before the Nobel Peace Prize, Ressa has also been honoured as Time’s Person of the Year 2018 and 100 Most Influential Women of the Century. BBC echoed this accolade in their 2019 list of 100 Most Inspiring and Influential Women as did Prospect when it included Ressa in its Top 50 Thinkers. Her awards for journalism go back to the 1980s, when Ressa began her career with CNN and ABS-CBN. The list goes on for someone accused of using her freedom of expression to spread fake news and misinformation.

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Maria Ressa is a Third Culture Kid, a term used to describe the community of world immigrants that grew up in cultures away from home, but don’t necessarily relate with their motherland. The 58-year-old Ressa moved to New Jersey as a child, where she says, “I had to figure out what a short brown kid was going to do in this big white world.” When she returned to the Philippines after her education at Princeton University, journalism became her tool for learning how to become Filipino.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49601038

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