IFJ condemns arrest and detention of Publisher-editor

 

Media Release: Philippines

January 17, 2013


The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of

Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the arrest and detention of

Carmelo Rima, publisher and editor-in-chief of the weekly Island Sandigan, on orders of a regional trial court (RTC) judge

who claimed that an article in the paper maligned him.

 

In

an order issued on January 12, Judge Lelu Contreras directed Carmelo Rima,

publisher and editor-in-chief of the weekly Island

Sandigan, to explain why he should not be held in contempt for an article

published that week. Before Rima was given the opportunity to address the

order, Contreras ordered Rima’s arrest and detention ahead of the hearing on

January 17.

 

Although

Rima was able to post the P20,000 bail set by Contreras, the judge left for

Manila preventing even the temporary release of Rima, who continues to be held

in detention at the Police Provincial Office in Camp Camacho.

 

According

to the order, the article “degraded [the] court, brought it into disrepute and

destroyed public confidence in it by alleging that the court is a ‘crime

scene…where documents were possibly crafted to suit [incumbent Catanduanes Gov.

Joseph] Cua’s naturalization.”

 

The

article reportedly also accused Contreras of helping to obtain and prepare Cua’s

naturalization documents.

 

Complaints

have been filed with the Commission on Elections and the Bureau of Immigration

over the citizenship Cua, who is seeking re-election in May 2013.

 

The IFJ calls on the Filipino authorities to

recognize the value of public service journalism as carried out by Rima, rather

than continue his victimisation which undermines press freedom.

 

 

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950 

 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131

countries

 

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific