Maria Ressa

CEO of Rappler, Journalist, Author, Freedom Advocate

2021 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Maria Ressa is the co-founder, CEO, and executive editor of Rappler.com, an online news organization in the Philippines. Maria, one of TIME’s Person of the Year for 2018 and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019, has been honoured around the world for her courageous and bold work in fighting disinformation, “fake news”, and attempts to silence the free press.

Maria advises organizations and corporations on corporate governance, values, and strategy. Her experience as a journalist and an entrepreneur in the digital world makes her a sought-after keynote speaker and panelist.

A journalist for over 30 years, Ressa was CNN’s bureau chief in Manila, before working as CNN’s lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism in Jakarta. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler, an online news platform with an ethos similar to a tech start-up, starting with a small team of 12 young reporters and developers. Through the power of social media, Rappler has grown into the fourth-largest news website in the Philippines with over 100 journalists. Maria has been arrested on 10 charges related to exposing the Duterte government’s corrupt practices and was convicted of cyber-libel in June. She is out on bail pending her appeal but true to form, Ressa, vows to keep fighting.

More recently, Maria is a founder of The Real Facebook Oversight Board – composed of 25 academics, journalists, and activists that will rival the social media platform’s own board.

Maria authored Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook.

Maria was featured in the 2020 documentary “A Thousand Cuts,” which profiles her fearless reporting on the abuses of Duterte’s presidency, while also illustrating social media’s capacity to deceive and entrench political power. 

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Thank you for joining us as a plenary speaker at the 2021 Skoll World Forum and for your thoughtful preparation in developing your keynote. The Closing Plenary aired this morning to a community of 1000+ and the admiration for you and your work was off the charts. There were more than 100 comments from attendees during your segment – I won’t post them all, but these encapsulate the sentiments:  
    • Maria Ressa is our hero
    • I’m utterly in awe of this woman’s courage
    • What a voice of reason and strength! Thank you @MariaRessa
    • “Without facts we don’t have truth, without truth we don’t have trust” ..Amazing Maria
    • Maria Ressa is an absolute legend, inspiration, and champion. #iLike3sToo
    • This woman is just so amazing. It’s great to hear from her here.
    • I am bowing deeply to Maria Ressa and her amazing courage, inspiration and crystal clear message. WOW!!!
    • Thanks, I accept the assignment! Pulling for you!
So, on behalf of our audience of social innovators and the Skoll Foundation, thank you—and your team—for your contribution. I’m so glad we were able to share your work, your courage, and your message with the Skoll Community look forward to hosting you on stage in Oxford soon.” Jessica Fleuti, Director & Curator, Convenings (Skoll Foundation) (Virtual)

You are such an inspiration. Thank you for making DLD All Stars such a deep, interesting and successful event. I could have listened to your talk for much longer. It was very impressive how you described the importance of vertical journalism. You’ve helped so many people with your commitment and we really worship that. But most importantly you moved the audience and myself with your optimism.”
Steffi Czerny, Founder (DLDconferences) (Virtual) 

Maria was a delight to work with and a stand-out speaker at the conference. Her speaking style is engaging and her story is compelling – and frightening. Thank goodness she injects humor from time to time! Our survey results are not all in yet, but I know from verbal feedback that she was the crowd favorite” 
Charlotte Singleton, Chair, Program Committee (Camden Conference) 
“We’ve never experienced something more meaningful, raw, thought-provoking than the session with Maria. She is a very rare combination of grit, passion, purpose, charm, and conviction. She is… not only a delight to speak to, but expects to be challenged in a conversation.” 
Lou DelaPena CEO, (Publicis Communications) (Virtual)
Maria’s interview was my favorite during the festival. We have received great feedback about it. She gave us a good range of both very specific examples when answering questions, and context by connecting those to the bigger, global picture– esp on freedom of the press as it relates to our predominantly American audience.” 
Katie Cassetta, PM (Aspen Ideas Festival) (Virtual)