News from ICIJ May 11, 2022


Welcome back!

Thirty-six years after ousting his father, Filipinos have elected Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as president.

Marcos is the namesake son of the Philippines' former dictator, a kleptocrat whose two decades in power were marked by the torture, murder, and jailing of thousands of citizens without due process. The family is accused of stealing billions from the country’s central bank.

Before the election, we talked to 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner and ICIJ member Maria Ressa, a pioneering Filipino journalist who’s no stranger to the new regime in a new episode of the Meet the Investigators podcast.

Ressa feels the election is part of a global ‘tipping point’ for journalism and democracy.

The technology-focused news outlet she founded, Rappler, has exposed Marcos’ disinformation network since 2019. Social media and disinformation is a topic Rappler has investigated throughout the rule of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, whose government targeted Ressa and Rappler in numerous legal actions.

“The reality is that I would still go to jail for the rest of my life. In less than two years, I had to post bail 10 times,” Ressa tells ICIJ”s Scilla Alecci. “In a strange way, I have president Duterte to thank for really forcing me to draw my own lines. How far will I go to defend the truth? Well, I learned that I would go pretty far.”

In a wide-ranging conversation, Ressa discusses her career, how her team copes with threats, the importance of ICIJ’s work, her advice for aspiring journalists and more.

“We want to look back a decade from now and know that we did everything we could, that we did the best we could for our profession, for our country,” Ressa says. “Don’t let naysayers get you down. This is an incredible time of creativity, of imagination. You must create what journalism is going to become.”

A key watchdog group credits the Pandora Papers for exposing the scale of global money laundering, and rebukes European governments’ weak defenses against financial crime.

Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov — whose links to massive secret money transfers were exposed in a recent ICIJ investigation — violated sanctions in funding a luxury ship that unexpectedly sailed into Fijian waters last month, U.S. officials say.

A new Europol port connects widespread violence to cocaine wars involving the sanctioned Irish family gang, whose connections to companies and enablers in Dubai and Panama were revealed in recent ICIJ investigations.

Thanks for reading!

Asraa Mustufa

ICIJ's digital editor

P.S. If you’d like to read and hear more behind-the-scenes stories from ICIJ’s team and members, like the Meet the Investigators podcast with Maria Ressa, please consider joining our Insiders community by making a donation to ICIJ. Insiders receive exclusive emails — like our Meet the Investigators podcast — first, as well as invitations to exclusive events, access to chat with our reporters, and other benefits through the year.

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