To write is already to choose.
Lady Ann Salem or better known by her family and friends as “Icy” is a paragon in all aspects – former student leader, academic achiever, selfless woman, and most of all, a principled journalist that has chosen the side of the marginalized without anything in return. Her resolve to write the stories of the masses along with fellow journalists drove them to establish the alternative online media outlet, Manila Today, and the national alternative media network, Altermidya.
Manila Today delivers news and stories that the powers that be would like to keep hidden. They cover stories such as issues of toiling farmers, underpaid and contractual workers, protesting students, and the current state of our country. These stories made them the target of red-tagging by the NTF-ELCAC, a task force made by the Duterte administration to spread fear and repress the Filipino people.
The all-out war declared by Duterte among his critics resulted in widespread violations of press freedom such as the shutdown of ABS-CBN corporation, harassment of Maria Ressa, red-tagging of alternative media, abductions, and rampant killings of journalists.
Despite these attacks, Icy continued and committed herself to write news for the masses.
On December 10, 2020, Lady Ann Salem and Rodrigo Esparago, a trade union organizer were abducted by members of CIDG-NCR and PNP. They were forced to face backward for an hour while the state forces are conducting their “operation” which is a clear violation of protocols during search warrants. The two were also denied their right to call their legal counsel during the arrest. This modus paved way for the state forces to plant fake evidence such as firearms, ammunition, and grenades.
Later on, the CIDG and PNP filed trumped-up charges on the two such as illegal possession of firearms, going as far as accusing them of being a criminal gang.
Icy’s arrest is proof that this administration is hell-bent on silencing the independent and critical Philippine media so it can manipulate the flow of information to the detriment of our people and our democracy. Salem’s abduction, along with the recent is proof of the dangers of red-tagging. Being a critic and an advocate of people’s rights and welfare is not a criminal should not be grounds for officers of the law to violate our rights.
We call on the government to free Lady Ann Salem as well as the 6 trade union organizers who were arrested during International Human Rights Day!
Enough is enough.
Sign the petition through this link:
Free Lady Ann Salem!
Defend Press Freedom!
Free Human Rights Day 7!
Free All Political Prisoners