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Philippines drops foreign ownership case against Nobel laureate Maria Ressa
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Philippines drops foreign ownership case against Nobel laureate Maria Ressa

A foreign ownership case in opposition to Philippine Nobel laureate Maria Ressa has been dropped, her media outlet said on Dec 13, but the journalist still encounters the threat of getting into lockup on other charges. Ressa, who got  a Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, has been dealing against several charges filed during previous  president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

A vocal critic of Mr Duterte and his deadly drug war, Ressa has long maintained that the charges in opposition to her and Rappler, the news website she co-founded in 2012, were politically motivated. Ressa, 60, was acquitted on five government charges of tax evasion earlier in 2023. The Department of Justice has now dropped a charge alleging Ressa illegally put Rappler under foreign control through the 2015 sale of foreign depositary receipts to United States investment firm Omidyar Network, her lawyers Amal Clooney and Caoilfhionn Gallagher said in a statement on Dec 12.

Rappler confirmed the department’s decision on Dec 13. “Again, facts win. Truth wins. Justice wins. We will go on to hold the line,” Ressa revealed in the statement. Under the Philippine Constitution, only Filipino citizens or entities controlled by citizens can invest in the media. Ressa has said passionately the Omidyar investment did not transfer ownership of the news outfit, nor did Omidyar exercise control.