In an ironic twist, the Philippine National Police (PNP) conducted a series of arrests today, Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. Among those in custody is Lady Ann Salem, Manila Today editor and communications officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT).
In a Facebook post published this afternoon, IAWRT – Philippines reported: “Filipino journalist Lady Ann Salem was arrested in her house this morning, International Human Rights Day. Her colleagues have learned of a ‘raid’ [on] her Mandaluyong house at 9:00 a.m. Salem was later found at the Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) facility of the Philippine police.” A relative of Salem managed to take a photo of her being transported in a white vehicle.
URGENT ALERT: Filipino journalist Lady Ann Salem was arrested in her house this morning, International Human Rights Day….
Her colleagues from Manila Today helped her relatives track her down. The independent publication stated on Facebook: “The vehicle with Lady Ann Salem inside fled from CIDG – NCR in Quezon City to Pasig City Police Headquarters[. It] is now in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. According to a relative who has spoken with the police personnel, Salem is about to take her swab test in Special Care Facility 3 in Camp Bagong Diwa.”
UPDATE: The vehicle with Lady Ann Salem inside fled from CIDG – NCR in Quezon City to Pasig City Police Headquarters, is…
In a series of tweets, the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) voiced its condemnation of Salem’s arrest and demanded her immediate release. “The arrest violates a long-standing agreement between the Philippine National Police and media organizations on the arrest of journalists. We note that Manila Today is one of the alternative media outfits baselessly red-tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) at the Senate during the Dec. 1 hearing of the Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation,” the group said. “Icy’s arrest is proof that this administration is bent on silencing the independent and critical Philippine media so it can manipulate the flow of information to the detriment of our people and of our democracy.”
We call on the community of independent Filipino journalists to close ranks and demand a stop to the repression of media.
Alternative media network Altermidya spoke about Salem’s dedication and contributions to the local press in its official statement, “The abduction is a clear attempt to silence critical journalists like Lady Ann. She has worked with [the] alternative media community and is one of the founding members of Altermidya Network. She graduated from the UP (University of the Philippines) College of Mass Communication and (is) a fellow of the Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop. Lady Ann is also a board member of Tudla Productions and the current communication officer of [IAWRT]. She is a former officer of the Metro Manila chapter of [NUJP].”
Altermidya also reported that trade union organizer Dennise Velasco was arrested at 3:00 a.m. during a raid on his home. “According to his wife, Diane, they were made to lie face down on the floor for an hour while the search was conducted. The police claimed they found firearms and explosives,” they stated in a tweet.
Trade union organizer Dennise Velasco was arrested at 3 am today, Dec. 10. According to his wife, Diane, they were made to lie face down on the floor for an hour while the search was conducted. The police claimed they found firearms and explosives. https://t.co/A46ELbK5cb