It’s been a month since the unjust detention of #HRDay7 over trumped-up charges last December 10, 2020, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines demands justice and call for their immediate and safe release now!
Clearly, the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives are questionable and have no basis.
The Guild puts onto notice that the Duterte administration’s criminalization of dissent is a battle of narratives. With it, the current administration persists to paint journalists, truth-tellers, rights defenders as terrorists. This desperate tactic of the government does not only damage the integrity of those who genuinely forward the demands of the people but places in jeopardy their safety and lives.
The Duterte administration knows that for abuse to flourish the press must be silenced. We maintain that the arrest and detention of Salem is not only an assault on messengers of truth but a clear violation of press freedom. Moreover, in light of the recent state-sponsored arrests of journalists, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) flagged Manila Today and Tudla — publication formations of the Altermidya Network as “terrorist fronts.” The Guild reiterates that the aftermath of red-tagging incidents is unlawful arrests, abduction, and death.
CEGP demands Duterte to release journalist Lady Ann Salem and six other labor organizers! Salem brings nothing but the pen and ink to herald the struggles of the people and to expose structures that continue to breed tyranny and oppression. Furthermore, the Guild reiterates that to enter the crucible of serving the people is not an act of terrorism. Salem’s abduction on the celebration of Human Rights Day proves the current administration’s debauchery and amplified measures to silence critical voices.
Hence, CEGP calls on our member campus publications, fellow journalists, student councils, and youth reformations to join in our call to free Lady Ann Salem, Frenchiemae Cumpio, and all political prisoners. Under the wiles of the Duterte administration, the media has been repressed and silenced continually. Let us remain steadfast in the call to #DefendPressFreedom and #FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners together with the masses, we will not allow another human rights defender to be detained!