Filipina journalist Maria Ressa acquitted of tax evasion
MANILA — Nobel laureate Maria Ressa was acquitted on Wednesday of tax evasion, a rare court victory after numerous setbacks in her fight to keep publishing her news site Rappler, whose run-ins with Philippine authorities have become emblematic of the decline in press freedoms in the country. .
A Philippine court acquitted Ms Ressa of four counts of tax evasion. She would have faced a maximum sentence of 34 years if convicted.
“Of course it should be an acquittal,” she said in an interview Tuesday night. “But if not, we will continue to fight.”
The verdict is a victory for Ms. Ressa and Rappler under the new administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who profited from misinformation and tried to downplay her father’s brutal dictatorship. The lawyers had urged Mr. Marcos to demonstrate his stated commitment to a free press by intervening on behalf of Ms. Ressa.
There are several other active cases pending against Ms. Ressa and Rappler. She is appealing her June 2020 conviction for cyberdefamation.
Jason Gutierrez reported from Manila and Vivek Shankar from Seoul. Mike Ives contributed report.
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