Brit national slams TIME Magazine over Person of the Year: 'Maria Ressa, is a seriously wrong choice'

Malcolm Conlan and TIME's cover, Maria Ressa / Composite photo from Facebook

Manila, Philippines – Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa, who is facing a series of tax evasion cases, has been named Person of the Year by TIME Magazine.

Ressa had posted bail amounting to P204, 000 at the Court of Tax Appeals on Tuesday for four out of five tax related cases that the government filed against her.

‘The Guardians’

Rappler CEO, joined by jailed Burmese journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, murdered Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, and the Capital Gazette—an Annapolis, Md. newspaper that lost five members of its staff to a mass shooting in June—on variant covers of the said magazine.

TIME, referred to them as the “Guardians” as it commended them for “taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out."

Representative of a greater fight

The magazine also notes that Ressa, and Rappler, are known for being critical on “President Rodrigo Duterte’s propaganda machine and extrajudicial killings."

“In return, she has faced a barrage of government lawsuits aimed at the site, and violent hate messages on social media—at one point, 90 of them an hour," the TIME cited.

"In its highest forms, influence—the measure that has for nine decades been the focus of TIME’s Person of the Year—derives from courage. Like all human gifts, courage comes to us at varying levels and at varying moments. This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment: Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md.," TIME added*

"They are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world—as of December 10, at least 52 journalists have been murdered in 2018—who risk all to tell the story of our time." It said

Rappler’s tax cases

The Department of Justice in November accused Ressa of violating Sections 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code. The charges came after Ressa allegedly failed to file income and value-added tax returns.

The judiciary said that it found probable cause to charge Rappler for tax evasion. In March, the Bureau of Internal Revenue filed a ₱133.8 million tax evasion case against the company.

Ressa, on the other hand, said that she will "exhaust every possible legal means" to counter the cases, which she said were "political harassment" against Rappler.

"We will continue to participate in a process, a process that is frankly anchored on this mother case that claims that the Philippine depository receipts are illegal. Other companies have them, the Court of Appeals has remanded that mother case back to the regulatory commission and all of these should wait until that case is over," she told CNN Philippines earlier

Meanwhile, many of netizens also expressed criticism over TIME’s choice of Person of the Year, being Ressa one of them. *

‘A seriously wrong choice’

In a Facebook post, British national and Duterte supporter, Malcolm Conlan, said Ressa is a “seriously wrong choice.”

I’m actually confused, how can a person who is suspected of tax evasion be awarded The Person of the Year by Time Magazine?” he said.

Conlan alleged that TIME Magazine “a political agenda or is being paid’ since Rappler is constantly attacking the duly elected president and the administration.

Malcolm Conlan’s full post reads:

A Seriously Wrong Choice

I’m actually confused, how can a person who is suspected of tax evasion be awarded The Person of the Year by Time Magazine?

Clearly Time Magazine has a political agenda or is being paid. Rappler is constantly critical of the democratically elected President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte and his administration. Time Magazine is obviously biased towards the liberal party and against real change and improvement in the Philippines.

Screen-capped image from Malcolm Conlan's Facebook post

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