Defend Truth

COURT VICTORY

Nobel laureate Maria Ressa acquitted in Philippine tax case

Nobel laureate Maria Ressa acquitted in Philippine tax case
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, the CEO of news site Rappler, outside the Court of Tax Appeals in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on 18 January 2023. The tax court acquitted Ressa and Rappler Holdings Corporation of four tax evasion charges that were filed in 2018 during the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Rolex Dela Pena)

Philippines Nobel laureate Maria Ressa and her news site Rappler were acquitted of tax fraud by a trial court on Tuesday, in another legal victory for the embattled journalist.

Ressa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 alongside a Russian journalist, is head of Rappler, which earned a reputation for its intense scrutiny of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his deadly war on drugs.

After the verdict was announced, Ressa told reporters she felt “good” about the court’s decision.

Her acquittal was expected after she was cleared of similar tax charges nine months ago.

Those charges stem from a 2018 government indictment that accuses Ressa and Rappler of dodging tax payments after failing to declare proceeds of a 2015 sale of depositary receipts to foreign investors.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Nobel laureate Ressa cleared in Philippine tax case, cheers win for justice

Ressa (59) is currently on bail and was convicted in 2020 for cyber libel in one of several cases against the website filed by government agencies. She maintained those cases were politically motivated.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr, who has been in office for 14 months, has said he would not interfere in the court cases against Rappler.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa rails against social media disinformation in ‘How to Stand Up to a Dictator’

Rappler is still operating unhindered pending its appeal against a closure order from the securities regulator.

The Philippines is ranked 132 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index, describing its media as “extremely vibrant despite the government’s targeted attacks and constant harassment” against journalists who are “too critical”. Reuters/DM

(Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Editing by Martin Petty and Kanupriya Kapoor)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.