Journalist Lady Anne Salem of alternative news outfit Manila Today was arrested Thursday by elements of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). BTW, take note that the arrest happened, of all days, on Global Human Rights Day.
“Isang oras kami nakatalikod habang tinatanim ang ebidensya,” says Salem after an inquest procedure today. “Tanim-ebidensya,” Salem stresses, was a tactic, usually by government forces, to justify the trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against her and others also arrested.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned Salem’s arrest and said it was “ 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.”
Recalling in an October interview, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), claims that the CPP infiltrated the media labelling the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and NUJP, of which Salem is a member, as media fronts of the Leftists working aboveground.
“The NTF-ELCAC has been using people’s money to maliciously attack progressive individuals and groups, including the youth,” says Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago as she filed charges in the Ombudsman against the high-ranking officials of NTF-ELCAC last Monday.
Salem’s case and Elago’s plea resonates among other individuals and groups joining the larger call to defend press freedom and democracy in the country. As the NUJP added: “We call on the community of independent Filipino journalists to close ranks and demand a stop to the repression of media.”
Media blackouts and imprisoned journalists is a grave sign of curtailed freedom, affecting not only those who need news but most of all, warrants the burden of proof to accusers. This is a responsibility worth our democracy.
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photo from Inquirer.net