MANILA -- The anonymity Filipinos get in social media somehow bolsters their courage to speak up, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Sunday.
NUJP chairman Nonoy Espina made the remark after a recent survey showed nearly 3 out of 5 Filipinos believe that they can speak "openly and without fear" even if it is against government.
He said the survey result is a very good indication of the value Filipinos put on freedom of expression as they continue to speak out amid threats.
“I’d like to believe not because we are allowed to, it is because we insist on exercising this freedom. Threat levels have spiked, especially online, people still face the risks and accept the dangers of standing up and speaking out,” he told ABS-CBN News.
Espina also believes that although some may think it is dangerous to publish or broadcast anything critical, the Philippine mass media generally still enjoys freedom of the press.
“It has not deterred our jobs from serving the people’s right to know. What I'm saying is we are free,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said there was no such prior restraint or subsequent punishment for those who practice the freedom to dissent in the Duterte administration.
Filipinos, meanwhile, gave mixed reactions to the survey results, citing social media as an influence.
“Hindi pa rin po, kasi parang lahat naman po wala pa rin freedom magsalita, kasi 'yung iba natatakot ma-bash... 'yung iba malakas ang loob kasi hindi sila nakikita ng Pangulo,” 17-year-old Jaimee Miranda said.
“'Yung Pinoy kasi ngayon mas matapang, mas educated. Natatakot ang tao noon, ngayon hindi na. Noon mga reporter lang talaga; ngayon hindi na kahit sino pwede, cellphone lang pwede na,” 72-year-old Loida Bron said.