A Philippine court on Tuesday acquitted Nobel laureate Maria Ressa and her media company Rappler of tax evasion charges filed during the administration of former.
President Rodrigo Duterte, a move that may help but won’t entirely calm concerns over media freedom in one of Asia’s oldest democracies.
It was the fifth and final tax evasion charge appealed successfully by Ressa and the online news site stemming from their alleged failure.
To file accurate tax return in 2015 in connection with Rappler’s issuance of depositary receipts to North Base Media and Omidyar Network.
In January, a tax court cleared Ressa and Rappler of four Philippine Court Acquits Nobel Laureate charges that they didn’t pay taxes. When the company raised capital through a partnership with the two companies.
Philippine Court Acquits Nobel Laureate
In what is being haile as a victory for journalistic freedom. Nobel laureate Maria Ressa has been cleare in the final of five tax evasion trials brought against her in the Philippines.
The cheerful journalist told media gathered outside a court in Manila, “You need to have confidence.”
Rodrigo Duterte, the former president, presided over all five cases.
His deadly war on drugs has been criticise in reports publish on Ms. Ressa’s news website, Rappler.
Ms. Ressa shared the 2021 Nobel Peace Prise with Russian journalist. Dmitry Muratov for her reporting on the rise of authoritarianism in the Philippines.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is looking.
Mr. Duterte for “crimes against humanity” in connection with the thousands of deaths. Due to his anti-drug campaign after he left office in June 2022.
In a statement following Ms Ressa’s acquittal last Monday, Rappler said: “This is a victory not just for Rappler but for everyone.
Who has preserved the faith that a free and responsible Philippine Court Acquits Nobel Laureate press empowers communities and advances democracy.”
If found guilty of tax evasion, Ms. Ressa could have spent up to 34 years in prison. The cases were a result of the 2015 sale of Filipino depositary receipts. A product used by businesses to attract overseas capital.
Ms. Ressa is still in some trouble, though.
She was sentence to seven years in prison after being guilty of cyber-libel. Although the case is being appealed, she is free on bond.
Rappler is also contesting the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission’s closure. Order for allegedly breaking the constitution’s ban on foreign ownership of local media.