A Philippine court on Wednesday acquitted journalist and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa and her news website Rappler of tax evasion charges which she had described as part of harassment by the country’s previous Rodrigo Duterte-led government, reported Reuters.
On Wednesday, the court acquitted her in four of seven cases for which she could have ended up in jail for up to 34 years and Rappler would have faced a substantial fine, said the International Center for Journalists.
“These charges were politically motivated, a brazen abuse of power and meant to stop journalists from doing their jobs,” Ressa said after the verdict. “This acquittal is not just for Rappler it is for every Filipino who has ever been unjustly accused.”
Ressa added that Wednesday’s verdict is a ray of light for other Filipino journalists, like Frenchie Mae Cumpio and Leila de Lima, who have been arrested on similar false charges.
“This verdict indicates that it is possible for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to hit reset on his predecessor’s vast campaign of media repression,” said the International Center for Journalists and the Hold The Line Coalition Steering Committee.
In 2021, Ressa had won the Nobel Prize for Peace for her efforts to safeguard freedom of expression and exposing Duterte regime’s abuses of power and growing authoritarianism.
The co-founder of Rappler is currently out on bail in…