“While there has been no offered evidence of any such links, Philippine officials’ increasing penchant for such “red-tagging” is reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous. When amplified by no less than the highest ranking enforcers of government and the law they inevitably compromise any guarantees of due process.”
By ALYSSA MAE CLARIN
MANILA– International groups expressed their grave concern with the arrest and continuing detention of journalist Lady Ann Salem, and called on the Philippine government to stop red-tagging activists and journalists.
In a statement, International Media Safety (IMS) echoed fears that authorities “are using the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives as a way to demonize, and harass activists as well as journalists who are being critical against the government.”
“IMS joins in demanding that her [Salem’s] rights and the due process guaranteed by the Philippines Constitution be upheld and respected,” the group said.
The group noted how two weeks before Salem’s arrest, the AlterMidya Network– to which Salem belongs to, was casually tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as a communist front, and even worse, as a terrorist organization.
IMS called on the Philippine government to end the “deadly practice of red-tagging” as its victims become targets of arbitrary arrests and detentions, or worse, even murdered for reporting legitimate criticisms against the Philippine government.
“While there has been no offered evidence of any such links, Philippine officials’ increasing penchant for such “red-tagging” is reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous. When amplified by no less than the highest ranking enforcers of government and the law they inevitably compromise any guarantees of due process,” IMS said.
IMS added that Salem’s arrest is but the latest proof that red-tagging “amounts to more than idle words and statements and directly leads to threats against life and liberty.”
Human rights group Amnesty International, meanwhile, demands for the government to release Salem and six labor organizers arrested on Dec. 10.
According to the group, the arrest and detention of the seven is a form of the Philippine authority’s well-established pattern of using false allegations to silence activists and human rights workers.
The group likened the Dec. 10 incident to the coordinated raids the local police carried out in Negros Occidental last October 2019.
Amnesty International also urged the government to end its campaign of ‘red-tagging’ of media outlets and political activists, and to immediately take action to stop the violence, threats and harassment against them.