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Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa Acquitted Of Tax Evasion

In a significant turn of events, Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa Acquitted Of Tax Evasion. She is the esteemed Filipino journalist, Nobel Peace laureate, and CEO of news organization Rappler.

Mariella Blankenship
Sep 13, 20232207 Shares52543 Views
In a significant turn of events, Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa acquitted of tax evasion.She is the esteemed Filipino journalist, Nobel Peace laureate and CEO of news organization Rappler.
This latest legal triumph marks a crucial milestone for the veteran journalist and the broader cause of press freedom in the Philippines.

Five Tax-Related Charges Overturned

Ressa and Rappler now stand cleared of all five tax-related charges that were filed during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
The verdict was delivered by the Regional Trial Court in Pasig City, bringing a sense of vindication to Maria Ressa and her dedicated legal team.
This is really a win not just for Maria … but a win for the Philippines. This acquittal together with [the] earlier acquittal will send a very strong message to the international business community.- Ressa's lawyer, Francis Lim
Maria Ressa, at 59 years of age, has carved a remarkable path as the CEO and co-founder of Rappler, in addition to her tenure as a former CNN journalist.
Her tireless commitment to free and responsible journalism has been unwavering, and this acquittal represents a resounding victory for her and the broader media community.
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
The news organization further extended its celebration to colleagues in the industry who have faced relentless online attacks, unjust arrests, detentions, and red-tagging, which have sadly resulted in physical harm.
This recent ruling comes on the heels of Ressa's clearance from four previous counts of tax violations filed in 2018 during the Duterte administration.
Notably, Ressa continues to appeal a six-year prison sentence imposed in 2020 for a separate cyber libel conviction.
Her resilience in the face of legal challenges is emblematic of her dedication to safeguarding freedom of expression in the Philippines.
Maria Ressa's enduring commitment to journalistic integrity and her role as a Nobel Peace laureate alongside Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov in 2021 underscore the global recognition of her efforts to champion press freedom.
This verdict carries implications beyond Maria Ressa's personal legal battles. It reinforces the notion that the justice system can indeed function independently and effectively.
Ressa expressed hope that this acquittal would pave the way for the dismissal of the remaining charges against her and Rappler, including a closure order that has been looming.
It is worth noting that the Philippines, while home to a vibrant media landscape, faces challenges in the realm of press freedom.
The country is ranked 132 out of 180 nations in the World Press Freedom Index. This ranking reflects the resilience of the media amid government-led attacks and harassment directed at journalists deemed too critical.
As President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who assumed office 14 months ago, refrains from interfering in the court cases against Rappler, the news organization continues to operate unhindered despite previous attempts to shut it down by the securities regulator.
Maria Ressa with arms stretched out with media people taking photos of her
Maria Ressa with arms stretched out with media people taking photos of her

A Beacon Of Hope

The acquittal of Maria Ressa and Rappler serves as a beacon of hope for journalists and advocates of press freedom not only in the Philippines but around the world.
It reinforces the idea that a free and responsible press remains an indispensable pillar of democracy, capable of withstanding even the most formidable challenges.
As the legal battles persist, Maria Ressa's unwavering resolve reminds us all that the pursuit of truth and the defense of press freedom are causes worth fighting for, regardless of the obstacles encountered along the way

Final Words

In conclusion, Maria Ressa's acquittal of tax evasion charges is a resounding victory for press freedom in the Philippines.
Her tireless dedication to journalistic integrity and her indomitable spirit in the face of legal challenges make her a symbol of hope for journalists and advocates worldwide.
This verdict reinforces the crucial role of a free and responsible press in strengthening democracy.
As the legal battles continue, Maria Ressa's enduring commitment reminds us that the pursuit of truth and the defense of press freedom are causes worth championing, no matter the obstacles.
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