Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa Cleared of Tax Evasion Charges

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Filipino Nobel laureate Maria Ressa has been cleared of tax evasion charges in her home country.

The journalist and her news outlet, Rappler, faced legal action taken by former Philippine government leader Rodrigo Duterte, who accused Ms. Ressa and her company of evading tax payments when it raised capital through partnerships with foreign investors.
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Ms. Ressa's legal team argued that the partnerships in question did not create taxable income under Filipino law.

The case began in 2018.

The BBC shared details from the ruling issued by the Philippines' Court of Tax Appeals, noting that the justices determined that the prosecutors had failed to prove Ms. Ressa's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, ultimately deciding that Ms Ressa and Rappler did not gain illicit income.

Ms. Ressa herself said, "Today, facts win, truth wins, justice wins."

Per the BBC, the Nobel Prize winner went on to say, "These charges were politically motivated, they were incredible to us, a brazen abuse of power, and meant to stop journalists from doing their jobs. These cases are where capital markets, rule of law, and press freedom meet."
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She would have faced a maximum sentence of 34 years in prison if convicted.

This is not the first time the Philippine government has attempted to shut down Rappler, which has long been critical of Duterte and his administration.

Ressa won the coveted Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. This award is given “for their [the winners'] efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."

What do you think about the tax evasion charges against Maria Ressa being dismissed?

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