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

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.”


Facebook to apply state media labels on Russian, Chinese outlets

Updated 05 June 2020

Facebook to apply state media labels on Russian, Chinese outlets

  • Facebook will not label any US-based news organizations
  • Social media giant said even US government-run outlets have editorial independence

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook will start labeling Russian, Chinese and other state-controlled media organizations, and later this summer will block any ads from such outlets that target US users, it said on Thursday.
The world’s biggest social network will apply the label to Russia’s Sputnik, Iran’s Press TV and China’s Xinhua News, according to a partial list Facebook provided. The company will apply the label to about 200 pages at the outset.
Facebook will not label any US-based news organizations, as it determined that even US government-run outlets have editorial independence, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in an interview.
Facebook, which has acknowledged its failure to stop Russian use of its platforms to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, has since stepped up its defenses and imposed greater transparency requirements for pages and ads on its platforms.
The company announced plans last year to create a state media label, but is introducing it amid criticism over its hands-off treatment of misleading and racially charged posts by US President Donald Trump.
The new measure comes just months ahead of the November US presidential election.
Under the move, Facebook will not use the label for media outlets affiliated with individual political figures or parties, which Gleicher said could push “boundaries that are very, very slippery.”
“What we want to do here is start with the most critical case,” he said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing in Beijing on Friday that social media companies should not selectively create obstacles for media agencies.
“We hope that the relevant social media platform can put aside the ideological bias and hold an open and accepting attitude toward each country’s media role,” he said.
Facebook is not the first company to take such action.
YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, in 2018 started identifying video channels that predominantly carry news items and are funded by governments. But critics charge YouTube has failed to label some state news outlets, allowing them to earn ad revenue from videos with misinformation and propaganda.
In a blog post, Facebook said its label would appear on pages globally, as well as on News Feed posts within the United States.
Facebook also said it would ban US-targeted ads from state-controlled entities “out of an abundance of caution” ahead of the November presidential election. Elsewhere, the ads will receive a label.