Philippines to charge news site Rappler for tax evasion

The Philippine government is alleging Rappler’s top executive, Maria Ressa, had attempted to evade paying taxes by not reporting gains of almost $3 million in its 2015 tax returns. (Reuters)
Updated 09 November 2018
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Philippines to charge news site Rappler for tax evasion

  • There was ‘probable cause’ to indict Rappler for violation of the country’s tax laws
  • Its top executive, Maria Ressa, had attempted to evade paying taxes by not reporting gains of almost $3 million in its 2015 tax returns

MANILA: The Philippines’ justice department said on Friday it had found cause to indict online news site Rappler and its top executive for tax evasion.
The justice department said it “found probable cause” to indict Rappler for violation of the country’s tax laws after it did not declare gains made in its 2015 tax returns.
Rappler said in a statement the indictment “is a clear form of harassment” and “an attempt to silence reporting that does not please the administration.”
The news site’s lawyer, Francis Lim, also said the case “has no legal leg to stand on” because Rappler did not evade any tax obligation.
Rappler is a frequent critic of the Philippines’ leader, Rodrigo Duterte, questioning the accuracy of his public statements and scrutinizing his war on drugs and his foreign policy decisions.
In a resolution last month, but made public only on Friday, a state prosecutor upheld a complaint from the internal revenue agency that Rappler and its top executive, Maria Ressa, had attempted to evade paying taxes by not reporting gains of almost $3 million in its 2015 tax returns.
The justice department’s statement said that the state prosecutor had dismissed Ressa’s defense that “the non-declaration of such gain was neither intentional nor willful.”


Mexican radio journalist murdered, first reporter death of 2019

Updated 21 January 2019
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Mexican radio journalist murdered, first reporter death of 2019

  • Rafael Murua, a community radio station director, had received death threats for his work
  • Murua, 34, was under the Mexican government’s protection program for journalists and rights activists

MEXICO CITY: A Mexican journalist was found murdered in the northern state of Baja California Sur, the governor said Monday, the first reporter killed this year in what has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press.
Rafael Murua, a community radio station director who had received death threats for his work, went missing Sunday night, according to local media reports. Governor Carlos Mendoza confirmed the journalist had been found murdered, condemning the killing.
“This cowardly crime will not go unpunished,” the governor wrote on Twitter.
“My solidarity to the family and all journalists working in Baja California Sur.”
Murua, 34, was under the Mexican government’s protection program for journalists and rights activists, said Balbina Flores, country director for the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
The group reported at least nine journalists’ murders in Mexico last year, making it the third-most-dangerous country to be a reporter after war-torn Afghanistan and Syria.
Racked by violent crime linked to its powerful drug cartels and fueled by political corruption, Mexico has registered more than 100 journalists’ murders since 2000.
The vast majority of the cases have gone unpunished — as do more than 90 percent of violent crimes in Mexico.