Veteran Journo to NUJP re Ressa : Its a Tax Evasion issue, not a curtailment of the freedom of the press

Veteran Journo to NUJP re Ressa : Its a Tax Evasion issue, not a curtailment of the freedom of the press



This is clearly not a case of ‘freedom of the press’ issue as the NUJP pictures it to be.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) released a statement condemning the perceived imminent arrest of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, accusing the Duterte administration of intimidating its critics in media.

Rappler's Maria Ressa (photo credit to owner)


"The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) warns government against pursuing plans to arrest Rappler CEO Maria Ressa when she returns to the country this weekend," NUJP said.

"Government can surely pursue its case without needing to arrest Maria and haul her off to jail—unless, of course, the intention is really to humiliate and intimidate her," it added.

"More than his inability to tolerate dissent, Duterte's relentless persecution of media appears to be part of the increasingly authoritarian direction his presidency has taken," the NUJP said.

Veteren journalist Ermin Garcia blasts NUJP calling the situation with Ressa as a “freedom of the press” issue when it is very clear that  “Rappler's legal problem is about corporate structure and responsibilities, not about journalism practice. And Rappler's legal team was given the chance to respond to the charge of tax evasion, not libel.”

Rappler is taking advantage of the situation making it as a freedom of the press issue rather than facing squarely its legal obligation to government in paying its lawful taxes. No one should be exempted from payment of taxes unless otherwise provided by law.

For the full quote of his Facebook post please see below:


RAPPLER'S CASE NOT A PRESS FREEDOM CASE. The NUJP's warning to government about the impending arrest of Rappler's Maria Ressa is regrettable as it is misplaced.

NUJP should be the first to know and understand that no one is above the law, especially journalists. Over the years, my colleagues in NUJP have been consistent in speaking out for the protection of our right as journalists in our practice as enshrined in our constitution And rightly so even knowing fully well that our right and freedom are still subject to our laws. NUJP isn't not aligned with its advocacy and mandate this time.

The case of Rappler, however, is not a press freedom case. Rappler's legal problem is about corporate structure and responsibilitues, not about journalism practice. And Rappler's legal team was given the chance to respond to the charge of tax evasion, not libel.

We all admire Maria Ressa and Rappler's team for their journalism practice but this is hardly the case. As CEO, Maria, like all CEOs, knew and understood the risks and benefits when she decided on a corporate structure that worked for the group"s objectives. So as a corporate citizen, Rappler knows fully well it has its responsibilities like all media establishments.

Unfortunately, It was determined that its corporate structure and transactions run afoul with our laws. And therefore, there are consequences

There is a law that must be upheld and Rappler can be expected to be the first to denounce any exemption or special treatment accorded to anyone, and for that, Rappler is respeccted and admired.

So should Maria be exempted from arrest? We expect Rappler to say NO!

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