Maria Ressa, head of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs for six years, has resigned her post effective January 3, 2011 when her contract ends.
“There is a time and place for everything in our lives. My time and place as head of ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs is nearing its end," Maria Ressa said in her internal email and released by ABS-CBN Corporate Communications close to midnight Monday. (http://www.gmanews.tv/story/203169/abs-cbn-news-head-maria-ressa-resigns)
“My contract ends on Jan. 3, 2011, and I will not be renewing. I have nearly six months of accumulated leaves so I will go on terminal leave beginning Nov. 15," she said.
Ressa leaves the network giant at a critical time for Philippine broadcasting. Rival stations ABS-CBN and GMA Network were both chastised by viewers and political leaders for their blow-by-blow coverage of the August 23 hostage tragedy.
Ressa herself was grilled at a Senate hearing for the coverage and for a purported conflict of interest as a part-time contributor for CNN, her former employer with which ABS-CBN News has a video-sharing agreement.
However, her statement released Monday night did not explain the reasons for her resignation.
“Journalism faces challenging days ahead. Value and protect your editorial independence. I wish you clarity of thought, stamina, and courage to fight for what is right and avoid the compromise of mediocrity," she said.
While head of ABS News and Current Affairs, Ressa has been an outspoken advocate of media freedom, while embracing new media as a means to empower ordinary citizens. She is a habitual Twitter user and encouraged ABS anchors and reporters to tweet news. However, she has not tweeted about her resignation and has been silent on Twitter since 12:03 AM Oct 10th.
According to Ressa, Ging Reyes, ABS-CBN North America bureau chief, will be taking over as news head and will be arriving in Manila on October 18.
Ressa asked her colleagues to support Reyes, whom she described as having more than twenty years of experience as a journalist for the network.
“We decided to take a stand and say no to corruption; to embrace the growth of social media; and to join hands with citizen journalists to patrol our votes and our nation," Ressa wrote in her letter as she thanked the network for six years of of trusting and supporting her “even when (I) tilt at windmills."
Prior to her stint at ABS-CBN, Ressa was the Jakarta bureau chief of CNN International and was CNN’s lead reporter in Indonesia, East Timor and the Philippines.
She was the lead investigative reporter on terrorism in Asia and was the author of the widely respected book Seeds of Terror, which contained detailed reportage on Al-Qaeda and its allies in Southeast Asia.
Born in Manila, she and her family moved to New Jersey when she 9. She studied biology and English at Princeton University, where she graduated in 1986.
She returned to Manila on a Fulbright scholarship to study theater before turning to journalism.
Ressa co-founded Probe, which soon became The Probe Team, with Cheche Lazaro, Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and Angie Ramos. From 1988 to 2003, The Probe Team aired on GMA Network.
Ressa relocated to Jakarta in 1995 to become CNN correspondent and lived there for 10 years before returning to Manila. - Jerrie Abella, GMANews.TV
Reposted From Jerrie Abella of GMA News.TV