[Statement] DOJ’s indictment of Rappler and its founder, Maria Ressa for tax evasion and failure to file tax returns a desperate attempt to shut down one of the critical voices in Philippine journalism -HRW

DOJ’s indictment of Rappler and its founder, Maria Ressa for tax evasion and failure to file tax returns a desperate attempt to shut down one of the critical voices in Philippine journalism -HRW

The move by the Philippine Department of Justice to indict Rappler and its editor and founder, Maria Ressa, for tax evasion and failure to file tax returns is clearly a desperate attempt by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to shut down one of the critical voices in Philippine journalism. Rappler has been in the cross-hairs of the administration from Day One because of its unrelenting and exceptional coverage of corruption and malfeasance in government, particularly the “drug war.” Prior to the indictment, Rappler was subjected to a barrage of harassment and intimidation by the administration, starting with Duterte himself. This includes threats on social media and blocking the news website’s reporter from covering the presidential palace. This case against Rappler is a clear assault on press freedom in the Philippines and part of the Duterte government’s attempt to evade scrutiny and accountability.

Brad Adams
Asia director, Human Rights Watch

Below are some background materials on the Rappler case:

Rappler: Tax case clear harassment, has no legal basis https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/216342-statement-doj-resolution-tax-evasion-case-harassment-no-legal-basis

Philippine Government Targets ‘Rappler’ for Closure | Human Rights Watch https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/15/philippine-government-targets-rappler-closure

SEC move vs Rappler a ‘politicized attack’ – HRW https://www.rappler.com/nation/193765-human-rights-watch-sec-statement

HRW: Barring access to Malacañang can lead to ‘broader assault’ on media https://www.rappler.com/nation/196544-human-rights-watch-access-malacanang-lead-broader-assault-media

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