According to the Philippine chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), Lady Ann Salem, known as ‘Icy’ among colleagues, was seized from her home in Mandaluyong City, Manila, around 9am. Salem is a communication officer for the Philippine chapter of the IAWRT and founding member of Altermidya, a national network of independent and progressive media institutions and individuals. She was one of seven people arrested on December 10, over alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives. She was later traced to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region.
Her arrest directly violates a long-standing agreement between the Philippine National Police and media organizations on the arrest of journalists. Manila Today is one of many media outlets targeted on baseless accusations by authorities like the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC), as being linked with the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“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 will hold accountable anyone who subjects Icy to any abuse and violation of her rights,” said NUJP. NUJP called on the community of independent Filipino journalists to close ranks and demand a stop to the repression of media.
The IFJ said: “The ongoing harassment of journalists in the Philippines on baseless links to political parties or ‘red tagging’ is the tactic of choice used by the powers that be to try shut down, intimidate and silence journalists. But the media community have not and will not be deterred by such blunt and arcane attempts. The IFJ condemns the climate of intimidation that makes a mockery of the state and system by use of these tactics which are completely unacceptable by global standards.”