Maria Angelita Ressa, (born October 2, 1963) is a Filipino-American journalist and author. Before leaving to run the Philippine online news website Rappler, she was a lead investigative reporter in Southeast Asia for CNN. Together with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, she was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for "their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."
- My job is to hold power to account.
- Interview with Democracy Now (2019)
- when President Trump called CNN and The New York Times fake news, a week later President Duterte called Rappler fake news. I think it is a bad time for the world when the former beacon of democracy, the fighter for press freedom and human rights, is noticeably absent. And I think you’re feeling that all around the world. Simultaneous to that, though, is the American technology companies that have allowed cheap armies on social media to roll back democracy, a new weapon used against journalists...Press freedom is not just for journalists. I think this is a critical time for democracy around the world, both in the Philippines and in the United States. And you must fight for your rights while you still can.
- Interview with Democracy Now (2019)
How to Stand Up to a Dictator (2022)
- If you're lucky, you realize early on that each decision you make answers a question that all of us muddle through: how to build meaning in our lives. Meaning is not something you stumble across or what someone gives you; you build it through every choice you make, the commitments you choose, the people you love, and the values you hold dear.
- Democracy is fragile. You have to fight for every bit, every law, every safeguard, every institution, every story. You must know how dangerous it is to suffer even the tiniest cut. This is why I say to us all: we must hold the line.
- I believe that Facebook represents one of the gravest threats to democracies around the world, and I am amazed that we have allowed our freedoms to be taken away by technology companies’ greed for growth and revenues.
- Please ask yourself the same question my team and I ask every day: What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth?
- It’s better to face your fear than to run from it because running won’t make the problem go away. When you face it, you have the chance to conquer it. That was how I began to define courage.
- there is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.
- Tech sucked up our personal experiences and data, organized it with artificial intelligence, manipulated us with it, and created behavior at a scale that brought out the worst in humanity.
- The world we once knew is decimated. Now we have to decide what we want to create.
- What you choose to do shapes the person you become.
- Technology has proven that human beings have far more in common than we have differences.
- This is why propaganda networks are so effective in rewriting history: the distribution spread of a lie is so much greater than the fact-check that follows, and by the time the lie is debunked, those who believe it often refuse to change their views
- I wanted to achieve an “empty mirror,” a concept I took from a book about a Buddhist monastery: to stand in front of a mirror and see the world without my image obstructing the view. I wanted to know myself to such a degree that I could take myself out of the equation when approaching the world around me and responding to it. That is clarity—the ability to remove your self and your ego.
- We decided to use the power of group dynamics and social networks to do something positive: spread hope.
- We are standing on the rubble of the world that was, and we must have the foresight and courage to imagine, and create, the world as it should be: more compassionate, more equal, more sustainable. A world that is safe from fascists and tyrants.
- the breakdown of the rule of law globally was ignited by the lack of a democratic vision for the internet in the twenty-first century.
- What I have witnessed and documented over the past decade is technology’s godlike power to infect each of us with a virus of lies, pitting us against one another, igniting, even creating, our fears, anger, and hatred, and accelerating the rise of authoritarians and dictators around the world.
- Today, an emergent wave of right-wing populist leaders uses social media to question and break down reality, triggering rage and paranoia on a bed of exponential lies. This is how fascism is normalized and where political outrage meets terrorism, the vanguard of mass violence.
- The ability to discern and question, which is crucial to both journalism and democracy, is also determined by education. Journalists and news organizations are a reflection of the people’s power to hold its leaders accountable. That means that ultimately the quality of a democracy can also be seen in the quality of its journalists.
Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (December 10, 2021)
- Journalists, the old gatekeepers, are one side of the coin. The other is technology, with its god-like power that has allowed a virus of lies to infect each of us, pitting us against each other, bringing out our fears, anger and hate, and setting the stage for the rise of authoritarians and dictators around the world.
- The last time a working journalist was given this award was in 1936, and Carl von Ossietzky never made it to Oslo because he languished in a Nazi concentration camp. So we’re hopefully a step ahead because we’re actually here!
- We are standing on the rubble of the world that was, and we must have the foresight and courage to imagine what might happen if we don’t act now, and instead, create the world as it should be – more compassionate, more equal, more sustainable.
- As only the 18th woman to receive this prize, I need to tell you how gendered disinformation is a new threat and is taking a significant toll on the mental health and physical safety of women, girls, trans, and LGBTQ+ people all over the world. Women journalists are at the epicenter of risk. This pandemic of misogyny and hatred needs to be tackled, now.
- Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without trust, we have no shared reality, no democracy, and it becomes impossible to deal with our world’s existential problems: climate, coronavirus, the battle for truth.
- We need information ecosystems that live and die by facts. We do this by shifting social priorities to rebuild journalism for the 21st century while regulating and outlawing the surveillance economics that profit from hate and lies.
- Now, please, with me, close your eyes. And imagine the world as it should be. A world of peace, trust and empathy, bringing out the best that we can be.
Time 100 Speech (April 24, 2019)
- I think we’re living through a very unique moment where again it proves that information is power. It's a completely chaotic time where technology has helped make facts disputable, eroded truth, and crippled trust.
- My only crime is to be a journalist, to speak truth to power.
- For journalists, for people at the front lines of trying to fight for truth, this is an existential moment for journalism and for democracy
- these leaders use anger and fear to divide and to conquer, they create and they live a politics of hate.
- I think everyone in this room realizes that anger and hate only destroy. What do you do when that’s over? How do you build, right? Because in order to create, to build for the future, you have to move away from that. How well we survive this time of creative destruction, it really is, depends on each of us, on each of us fighting our individual battles of integrity, for integrity. We’ve got to jump in...
- Please, grab your glass, raise it to Filipinos, to Americans, and other freedom-loving people all around the world who are fighting desperately for their democracies, because they — we believe in the goodness of human nature. We believe that the only way to build is with hope, it’s with inspiration, it is — it’s with love. We will hold the line powered with the best of human nature.
Quotes about Ressa
- Maria's is a key voice...she is so incredible in so many ways.
- Carole Cadwalladr blurb for How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future (2022)
- she stands taller than most in her pursuit of truth.
- Amal Clooney forward for How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future (2022)
- While Duterte’s government has attempted to silence Maria Ressa, her journalism has been praised around the world. In December, she was honored as one of Time magazine’s persons of the year in 2018, and just this week named one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2019. On Wednesday, she won the 2018 Tully Free Speech Award at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
- Maria Ressa’s unerring fight for freedom of expression is an example for many journalists around the world. Her case is emblematic of global trends that represent a real threat to press freedom, and therefore to democracy.
- Marilù Mastrogiovanni, Chair of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize's jury and an investigative journalist from Italy, said. United Nations "UN News: Filipino investigative journalist to receive UN press freedom prize", Vol 28 April 2021.
- The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace. Ms. Ressa and Mr. Muratov are receiving the peace prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and in Russia. At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.
- Berit Reiss-Andersen quoted here (2021)