Former Rappler reporter Carmela Fonbuena is new head of PCIJ

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Carmela Fonbuena
Carmela Fonbuena ... recently launched a book on the Marawi siege on Mindanao Island, in the Philippines which she covered on the ground in 2017. Image: Rappler

Pacific Media Watch newsdesk

The Philippine Center For Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has named former Rappler reporter and book author Carmela Fonbuena as its next executive editor, reports Rappler.

“We are very pleased that Carmela has decided to be at the helm of PCIJ at a time when journalism in the Philippines and elsewhere is facing challenges on multiple fronts,” the PCIJ said in a statement.

The transition comes at a time when freedom of the press is under siege in the Philippines by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, whose allies have sought to bring down independent news outlets critical of his administration.

Fonbuena succeeds Malou Mangahas, who led the PCIJ for 11 years, visited New Zealand as guest speaker of the Pacific Media Centre during its 10th anniversary celebration, and retired in early 2020.

Floreen Simon, who stood in as acting executive director during the transition, will become the deputy executive director while still heading PCIJ’s training desk.

Fonbuena’s work
Fonbuena has been a journalist for 17 years, and has co-written four books on Philippine elections and government contracting.

She recently launched a book on the Marawi siege on Mindanao Island, which she covered on the ground in 2017.

Fonbuena was a senior reporter for Rappler from 2011 to 2018 and was the head researcher of GMA’s Bawal ang Pasaway public affairs programme. Prior, she worked as a researcher for the investigative news magazine, Newsbreak.

Recently, she has been contributing in-depth pieces for the British news website, The Guardian.

She earned an MA in political communication at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom as a Chevening scholar, and is a graduate of journalism from the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Asia Pacific Report republishes Rappler articles with permission.

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