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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Philippines Journalist and Media Outlet Cleared of Tax Evasion Charges


Maria A. Ressa, Chief Executive Officer, The Rappler, Philippines. Image via Flickr by Deutsche Welle. Used under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license


By Saurav Sarkar


Renowned Filipina journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa was cleared in mid-September 2023 of the last of the tax evasion charges levied against her by the Filipino government, reported “Democracy Now!”.


“It shows that the court system works. We hope to see the remaining charges dismissed,” said Ressa to reporters.


She and her website Rappler achieved prominence internationally for their reporting on former Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and his violent war on drugs. She continues to face numerous efforts by the government to throw her in prison and shut down the operations of Rappler. These include a “cyber libel” charge for Rappler reporting on alleged malfeasance by Filipino businessman Wilfredo Keng and the Philippines’s Chief Justice.


According to Reuters, the Philippines is in the bottom third of countries ranked by press freedom as measured by the World Press Freedom Index. The country took an authoritarian turn with Duterte’s election, who presaged his years in office by telling a group of businessmen that his term would be “a bloody one.” He then followed through on his promise, with at least 6,000 killed in his drug war alone.


Saurav Sarkar is a freelance writer and editor who covers political activism and labor movements. They live in Long Island, New York, and have also lived in New York City, New Delhi, London, and Washington, D.C. Follow them on Twitter @sauravthewriter and at sauravsarkar.com.


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