The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for the release of journalist Lady Ann “Icy” Salem.
On December 10, authorities arrested Salem in her home in Mandaluyong. Salem is an editor of alternative media Manila Today and a member of Tudla Productions.
She also serves as a communications officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television.
“Reporters Without Borders demands the immediate and unconditional release of Lady Ann Salem, a Manila-based alternative journalist who was arrested on a firearms charge at the end of a raid on her home,” RSF said in a statement dated December 15.
RSF is an international non-profit organization that safeguards the right to freedom of information.
The Philippines is ranked 136th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
CPJ likewise called for the release of Salem and appealed to launch an “open investigation into police officers’ alleged planting of weapons” during the arrest of Salem.
“Authorities should immediately release journalist Lady Ann Salem, drop any pending charges in her case, and stop harassing journalists for bogus weapons violations,” Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative said Monday (December 14).
CPJ also posted a Change.org petition link calling for the release of the detained journalist on its Twitter page.
CPJ is an American independent, non-profit organization that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said four .45 pistols, four grenades, and various ammunition were seized from Salem. The search warrant was issued by Judge Cecily Burgos-Villavert, executive judge of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89.
“Cases for violations of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Law) and RA 9516 (Illegal Possession of Explosives) are being readied for filing against the arrested persons,” the CIDG report read.
Salem is currently held at the Camp Bagong Diwa police headquarters in Taguig City.