Maria has been a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years. She was CNN’s bureau chief in Manila then Jakarta, and became CNN’s lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism in Southeast Asia. She has authored two books – ‘Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia’ and ‘From Bin Laden to Facebook’.
In 1987, Maria co-founded the independent production company Probe. In 2005, she managed ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, the largest multi-platform news operation in the Philippines. Her work aimed to redefine journalism by combining traditional broadcast, new media and mobile phone technology for social change.
Maria is now the CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, which she co-founded in 2012 and helped turn into one of the most influential and innovative news organisations in the Philippines.
Maria has been honored around the world for her courageous and bold work in fighting disinformation, “fake news”, and attempts to silence the free press. In 2018, she won the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-INFRA), the Knight International Journalism Award of the International Center for Journalists, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Journalist of Courage and Impact Award of East-West Center, and the IX International Press Freedom Award of University of Málaga and UNESCO, among others. In December 2018, Maria was named Time 'Person of the Year,' and most recently was chosen as among "Time 100" most influential people of 2019.
In today's age of disinformation, Maria is a dominant voice in the battle for truth and the defense of press freedom in the Philippines and around the world.