Filipina reporter Maria Ressa lands TIME’s ‘Person of the Year’ cover

This screenshot from TIME Magazine shows Rappler CEO Maria Ressa (right), who is one of the journalists it has picked as Person of the Year. On left are photos representing imprisoned Reuters reporters Kyaw She Oo and Wa Lone of Myanmar. Photo courtesy of TIME

ON Tuesday, Dec. 11, TIME Magazine has released its yearly “Person of the Year” issue, and the magazine has chosen “The Guardians” — journalists who have been persecuted for their work.

Among the journalists given a black-and-white cover included Maria Ressa, chief executive of Philippine news site Rappler; whose consistent, formidable reporting on the extrajudicial killings in the country, to put it lightly, caused a kerfuffle in the Duterte administration.

TIME writes, “In the Philippines, a 55-year-old woman named Maria Ressa steers Rappler, an online news site she helped found, through a superstorm of the two most formidable forces in the information universe: social media and a populist President with authoritarian inclinations. Rappler has chronicled the violent drug war and extrajudicial killings of President Rodrigo Duterte that have left some 12,000 people dead, according to a January estimate from Human Rights Watch.”

Last month, the Duterte administration indicted Rappler with charges on tax fraud, which could send Ressa to prison for up to 10 years.

Ressa wasn’t the only Asian honoree of the esteemed cover. Young Reuters reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are currently in prison in Myanmar for their consistent reporting on the deaths of 10 Rohingya Muslims amid the ongoing ostracization and discrimination against the minority group in Myanmar.

Also featured in the issue — called “The Guardians and the War on Truth — was investigative Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose mysterious killing continues breed speculation into abuse of power among those who may be involved.

The staff at historical Maryland newspaper The Capital Gazette also landed a cover for continuing to “press on” after a gunman entered their newsroom on June 28 and gunned down five of their colleagues.

“For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, ‘The Guardians’ are the Person of the Year,” TIME editor Ed Felsenthal wrote.

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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