Sep 12, 2023 - Economy

Nobel prize winner Maria Ressa acquitted on tax evasion charges

Philippine journalist and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa outside the Pasig Regional Trial Court following her acquittal in a tax evasion case in Pasig, Metro Manila, in the Philippines on Tuesday. Photo: Jam Sta Rosa/AFP via Getty Images

Journalist Maria Ressa and her news site Rappler were acquitted on tax evasion charges Tuesday, marking an important legal victory for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner, her website, and press freedom activists globally.

Why it matters: The Filipino American journalist and Rappler have been fighting charges brought against them by former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's regime for the past five years.

Details: "This is a victory not just for Rappler but for everyone who has kept the faith that a free and responsible press empowers communities and strengthens democracy," Rappler said in a statement, according to its website.

  • The online Philippines news site became a target of the Duterte regime for investigative reporting that challenged the government's claims.

Yes, but: Ressa is still appealing a separate six-year prison sentence she received for a cyber libel conviction in 2020. She was released on bail after she was arrested for those charges in 2019.

What to watch: Press freedom groups, while lauding her recent acquittal, continue to pressure the Filipino government to drop its remaining charges.

  • "As an immediate next step, we call on the government to abandon all remaining cases against Rappler and Ressa, and in doing so, put a long-overdue end to their persecution," Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Hold the Line Coalition (HTL) said in a joint statement.

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