City Jail

IAWRT Communications Officer Lady Ann Salem (Icy) was committed to a regular jail on 28 December 2020, where she will be kept with convicted felons.

She was transferred from the national police headquarters/base (Camp Crame) where she has been held since her arrest on 10 December. She was transferred to Mandaluyong City Jail Female Dormitory. Her lawyer, Kristina Conti, said it will be harder to access her now because of health restrictions. As all „regular jails” are under lockdown because of COVID19.

Conti told IAWRT: “As soon as the case rolls on, the court orders them into a penal/regular facility. We have no inside information about this new jail, where she will be kept with common criminals.” Salem is expected to appear in court on 14 January.

Lady Ann Salem is currently facing two charges: illegal possession of firearms, and illegal possession of explosives. Salem has long denied these charges, saying the evidence were planted by the police.


Icy 23


Fair trial for arrested IAWRT communications officer is called for amid attempts to discredit the journalist 


A Filipino human rights lawyer, handling the case of Lady Ann Salem, communications officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television has called on the international media community to put a spotlight on her case to ensure that she gets a fair and impartial trial.


“(Salem)’s case is not a simple criminal charge; it is one of political persecution, taken in the context of the red-tagging of Manila Today where she is editor,” said Kristina Conti of the Public Interest Law Center.


Salem was arrested on International Human Rights Day, the very same day when another IAWRT colleague was shot dead in Afghanistan.


Since Lady Ann Salem was  arrested, the Philippine authorities have been trying to portray her as member of a criminal gang and a top-ranking rebel leader who recruits youth into an armed movement. Conti noted that these narratives set the tone for Salem’s prosecution as an “enemy of the government.”


“From establishing Icy’s credentials as a busy journalist, her personal demeanor, and such, we can present to the court the truth vis a vis the lies concocted by the police,” Conti said. 


Cases against Icy

Salem is currently facing two charges: illegal possession of firearms, and illegal possession of explosives. Using a search warrant, the police enterred her home in Mandaluyong City, where they purportedly found firearms and grenades. Salem has long denied this, saying in a short news interview that these were planted by the police. 

Salem was arraigned on Dec. 21, 2020, which marks the start of the trial against her, per the Philippine criminal justice system. She appeared before the court through video conference.

“The legal team is exhausting means to controvert the police narrative, beginning with obtaining the records of the application of the search warrant. We think that the incredulity and inconsistencies in the statements of the police in this entire operation will work to diminish, and eventually destroy, the cases against her,” Conti said.


How is Icy? 

Icy, as Salem is known to family, friends, and colleagues, is being held in an 8×3 feet police cell, which she shares with five other women detainees. “To maximize the space, they have hung up hammocks up the steel bars where some of them sleep,” said Conti. 

As of this writing, Icy is not allowed visitors apart from her lawyers due to COVID-19 restrictions. Their rice is provided to them by the police, and the rest of her food is sent by family and supporters. “Considering the circumstances, Icy has been holding up fairly well. She says she has written about political prisoners, their cases and their situations, too many times before – but never really imagine herself being one. She holds on to all support and encouragement that reaches her from friends and family,” Conti said. 


By Janess Ann J. Ellao, IAWRT Philippines

Free Lady Ann

Dear members, friends and supporters of IAWRT!

As you know, IAWRT has been hit hard by grave and brutal events: Last Thursday, on International Human Rights Day, one of our members in Afghanistan, Malalai Maiwand, was shot and killed along with her driver.

The very same day our Communication Officer, Lady Ann Salem, whom we know as Icy, was arrested at her home in the Philippines. The police claim to have found firearms and explosives. It is obvious that the evidence was planted as Icy was forced to turn her back for about an hour while the police went through her house. But this is now used to justify her arrest and continuing detention, and to spread baseless portrayals of Icy as a gun-wielding criminal. She was arrested shortly after the news outlet of which she is the editor, Manila Today, was red-tagged by Philippine authorities.

Both events have been strongly condemned by IAWRT, as well as other organisations such as Amnesty, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

In February, another IAWRT member from the Philippines, Frenchie Mae Cumpio, was arrested in a manner similar to Icy’s. Also in this case the police claim to have found weapons and explosives. After more than nine months Frenchie is still in custody.

IAWRT has now launched a support drive for emergency legal assistance for Icy and Frenchie, in collaboration with the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other organisations. We will do everything possible to help our members!

As communication officer Icy was a vital and important member of the IAWRT global community, supporting the work of the secretariat, our membership and partner organisations. Icy’s arrest has directly affected IAWRT’s operations, since computers and other equipment have been seized by the police. The whole secretariat is now in a dire state.

IAWRT appeals for your support to:

1. raise legal funds for our detained colleagues in the Philippines

2. save the secretariat






Lady Ann Salem


The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is appalled over and strongly condemns the continuing detention of the organisation’s Communications Officer and Filipino journalist Lady Ann Salem, who was apprehended from her house on Thursday December 10.

In a short video posted by the news channel AlterMidya, Salem said she was forced to have her back turned for about an hour as the police planted evidence in her home, including firearms and explosives. This she told the Philippine media while surrounded by a phalanx of police officers who marched her to their vehicle shortly after her first court appearance on Friday.

Salem initially went missing on December 10, International Human Rights Day. Her family and colleagues launched a relentless search for her from one police headquarters to another, until a photo of her in a white police vehicle went viral. Salem was shuttled to one police station after the other before her lawyer Kristina Conti was able to speak to her. Conti says this was unlawful as an arrested individual should be immediately brought to the nearest police station. Salem was finally taken to Camp Bagong Diwa at 6PM , where she spent the night. According to  Conti, Salem was supposed to stay in the said facility until her COVID-19 swab test results were out. However, the police brought her to the prosecutor’s office the next day to beat the 36-hour window within which charges must be filed. 

Her family, who  according to Philippine law should have been granted access to her, was denied this right. She only managed to speak to her lawyer on  December 11 during the inquest proceedings. 

The circumstances around Salem’s  arrest and her continuing detention is a clear breach of international human rights and an alarming development in the dire situation that journalists and press freedom advocates continue to face in the Philippines. IAWRT, along with the rest of the global media community, continue to press for her release and that these baseless charges are dropping 


Violet Gonda

President, IAWRT

Based in London. For interviews please e-mail:




Malalai Maiwand


IAWRT strongly condemns the brutal shooting of Malalai Maiwand and her driver in Afghanistan & the arrest of IAWRT’s Communication Officer Lady Ann Salem, in the Philippines

IAWRT strongly condemns the brutal shooting of Malalai Maiwand and her driver in Afghanistan

Malalai Maiwand was a 26 year old reporter at Enikass Radio and TV in Nangarhar in Afghanistan, renowned for her fight for women’s and children’s rights. She was a member of AWRT, affiliated with IAWRT. Malalai was shot by a gunman in Nengarhar Province in Afghanistan this morning. She was an active member of AWRT and other civil society groups and had been under threat for some time.

Maiwand is the second journalist killed in Afghanistan since mid-November. On November 12 Alyas Dayee was killed in a bomb blast in Helmand province. IAWRT demands that the authorities in Afghanistan investigate the murders of Malalai Maiwand and Alyas Dayee. 


IAWRT also strongly condemns the arrest of IAWRT Communications Officer, Lady Ann Salem, in the Philippines

Lady Ann Salem (known as Icy), who is journalist and also the editor of an alternative media outlet, Manila Today was arrested from her home on the morning of December 10 on unknown charges. 

Icy’s colleagues learned of a raid in her Mandaluyong house at 9:00 AM. Hours later Salem was found at the Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group facility of the Philippines police.

It is especially devastating that both the murder of Malalai Maiwand and the arrest of Lady Ann Salem happened on International Human Rights Day.

Icy was taken to court on Friday and is being charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The media outlet she works for, Manila Today was red-tagged (blacklisting as either a Communist or terrorist group, or both, by the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict – NTF-ELCAC).

Outside the Mandaluyong court, Icy told the media that the evidence was planted during the raid on her home.

Another IAWRT member from the Philippines, Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who was arrested in Tacloban City in February on similar carges, based on ‘evidence’ found in a raid, is still in detention. 

IAWRT says the Philippine government must immediately release Lady Ann Salem and Frenchie Mae Cumpio, as well as investigate disappearances and wanton arrests of journalists and put an end to the harassment of all journalists and human rights defenders.  

“Instead of being the storytellers, journalists are fast becoming the story – being arrested, abducted, assaulted, and killed,” says IAWRT President Violet Gonda. 

“It’s normal for journalists to be the voice of the voiceless, but who is the voice for targeted journalists? Journalists can’t breathe! It is shocking that on the last day of UN Women’s 16 days of Activism against Gender based Violence we received the tragic news that our IAWRT members have been killed and arrested for just being journalists”. 

“It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that newsrooms and the communities in which journalists work, are safe spaces. The role of the State is to promote democracy, peace and good governance. This means allowing dissenting voices to be heard” she concluded.



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 Day 15 of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

#16Pledges: IAWRT members around the world share their efforts and vision how they can contribute to eliminating violence against women

Broadcast journalist Sonia Capio of the Philippines: I pledge to journalists promoting gender and development advocacies in the Philippines and beyond.

I commit myself to uphold GAD mainstreaming in the Philippine media through webinars and online coverage. I will vigorously network with the campus media students and advisers to educate and train them on gender-responsive mass media despite the pandemic.

I also commit to strengthen camaraderie with the Philippine media practitioners, particularly fellow women broadcast and online journalists.

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Day 14  of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

#16Pledges: IAWRT members around the world share their efforts and vision how they can contribute to eliminating violence against women

IAWRT USA President and NYC4CEDAW Act Coalition Chair Sheila Dallas-Katzman: I pledge to continue collecting women’s stories in communities to steer policies to address their needs

For the 16-Days of Activism Against Gender Violence 2020, IAWRT-USA has held, in conjunction with NYC4CEDAW Act steering committee, virtual meetings with the objective of collecting community stories of first-hand experiences with the healthcare system. We are in the process of drafting a report of these collective stories, led by Black Women’s Blue Print.

These are telling stories of the City Government’s inaction in healthcare towards women in the areas of Health, Economic Mobility and Safety. Too often policy is made far removed from the public’s experience. These reports will be delivered to the Commission on Gender Equity (CGE), to influence their Toolkit for an extensive assessment of New York City government in the three areas mentioned above. They are intended to evaluate their enactment and impact on the Black and Brown Community.

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Day 13 of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence


#16Pledges: IAWRT members around the world share their efforts and vision how they can contribute to eliminating violence against women



News Research Content Editor Sivu Tywabi of South Africa: I pledge to place on the forefront of the public broadcasters news diary all the gender-based violence (GBV) cases that have not been reported on, but, are in court.


GBV is horribly underreported in a country where we have a second pandemic, femicide, more often than not at diary meetings these kinds of stories are dropped in favour of politics, economics and breaking stories of the day. The travesty of this is the fact that these stories are never returned to and this means the wider population gets to miss out on the urgency of gender based violence and reporting it.


As I am tasked with placing possible news stories for coverage, I have taken it upon myself to make sure that such stories reside on the news diary.


More often than not editors cite GBV fatigue and the gruesomeness of the nature of the story as a reason to not prioritize their coverage.


From my end, the little I can do is to ascertain that the said stories make it to the diary and are there all the time even if they don’t get covered but they are a sore point on the diary until they are considered for news coverage.

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Day 12 of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

#16Pledges: IAWRT members around the world share their efforts and vision how they can contribute to eliminating violence against women



Radio Nepal Senior Program Officer Chanda Bista: I pledge to feature women’s stories and voices, campaign against violence and discrimination through radio



Ms. Chanda Bista has over 23 years of experience in Radio Nepal. Presently she is running a talk show program called “Ajaka Nari” or “Today’s Women.” The program focuses on women empowerment by bringing those women in the talk who are doing exemplary works in the community to advance and empower women and supporting them to live a dignified life.


During this 16-day Campaign against Violence Against Women (VAW), Ms. Bista’s talk show focuses on advocating for a discrimination and violence-free society. She is bringing out the cases of violence that are happening on the women and children during this pandemic and doing lobby for ending violence.  


One major program she is covering during the VAW campaign is “President’s Women Advancement Program” which is launched by the Nepal Government with the ambition of providing free flight facilities to the rural, poor pregnant women for treatment in the city hospitals, if they have severe complications.


Ms. Chanda is covering daily activities of this program, including the interviews with the Chief of the program and beneficiaries. This program facilitates ending VAW and improving the health condition of women.   


Another major program during the VAW campaign is focusing on the “White Ribbon Alliance” which advocates for men’s active participation in ending domestic violence.  


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Day 11 of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence


#16Pledges: IAWRT members around the world share their efforts and vision how they can contribute to eliminating violence against women




Pledge of the International Association of Women in Radio and

Television (IAWRT) Philippine Chapter in support of the

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence


Women truth-tellers that we are,

Born to live a life for ourselves, our community, society, and nation

And for humanity, truth, peace, justice and dignity.

Because of our natural instincts as nurturers,

We carry the fundamental value of integrity of creation.


In our unique role as truth-tellers,

We fill the void where there is hunger and quest for truth.

With real compassion for the very least,

With stories about women’s lives and those of their family and children.


In a world where threats to truth, justice and peace exist,

We women truth-tellers dare to tread the unknown

And take the lead.


We take the challenge and commit to create a just and humane society.


IAWRT Philippines Chapter General Assembly in Quezon City, November 2019