KOMPAS.com – A court in the Philippines on Wednesday, Jan. 18, acquitted Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa of four tax evasion charges, alongside her online government-critical news site Rappler.
Ressa had pleaded not guilty in 2020.
The tax case is one of several government lawsuits that she and Rappler are facing, sparking press freedom concerns in the Southeast Asian country.
Ressa, the CEO and executive editor of Manila-based Rappler, received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 2021. The award also made her the first Filipino to win a Nobel Prize.
'Truth wins. Justice wins.'
Addressing reporters outside the court on Wednesday, Ressa said it was "emotional" for everybody, describing the charges as "politically motivated" in an attempt to stop journalists from doing their jobs.
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"It took four years and two months," she said, in reference to the trial. "But today, facts win. Truth wins. Justice wins."
In a statement on the court decision, Rappler described it as "the triumph of facts over politics." The website thanked the court for "recognizing that the fraudulent, false, and flimsy charges" were baseless.
The renowned journalist and her website still face three other criminal cases, most notably a cyber libel conviction that is now under appeal. If the conviction is upheld, Ressa could face nearly seven years in prison.