Maria Ressa was born in Manila, the Philippines. At the age of nine, she and her family moved to the United States. After studying at Princeton University, she returned to her native country and took a master’s degree at the University of the Philippines Diliman. From 1995, Ms Ressa worked as a local correspondent for CNN, covering in particular the growth of terrorism in South East Asia.
In 2012, she was one of the co-founders of the Rappler online news site. As an investigative journalist, she has distinguished herself as a fearless defender of freedom of expression and has exposed the abuse of power, use of violence and increasing authoritarianism of the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. In particular, Ms Ressa has focused critical attention on President Duterte’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. She and Rappler have also documented how social media are being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.