LUNCH WITH THE FT: Maria Ressa: ‘It would be great if we didn’t have to fight our government’
The crusading Filipino journalist on debunking disinformation and taking on President Duterte
When plainclothes police officers burst in to Maria Ressa’s newsroom to arrest her back in February, her young reporters responded exactly as she had drilled them: they whipped out their phones and filmed her being escorted away, broadcasting live to their 10m readers. It was a vintage piece of heavy-handed intervention by the government of Rodrigo Duterte, the authoritarian president of the Philippines. It was also a vintage piece of cutting-edge digital journalism by one of the sharpest editors of our illiberal age.
Ressa, the chief executive of the news website Rappler, is the most prominent journalistic gadfly of “Duterte Harry”, as some of the president’s critics call their strongman leader. The warrant for “cyber-libel” was served at 5pm, too late for her to post bail. So she had to spend the night in detention in a conference room. It was just one of an array of charges heaped on her and her fellow editors. She has already spent, by her own reckoning, more on bail money...