MANILA - Nearly half of Filipinos believe it is dangerous to publish or broadcast anything that is against the Duterte administration, according to a survey that Social Weather Stations (SWS) released on Monday.
Of 1,200 adults polled on June 23-26, 2021, 45 percent believe to print or air anything against the administration is dangerous "even if it is the truth." Only 25 percent disagreed while the remaining 28 percent were undecided, SWS said.
By area, the proportion of those who have this belief was highest in Metro Manila at 51 percent, followed by the Visayas (46 percent), Balance Luzon (45 percent) and Mindanao (41 percent).
This view also rose in all educational levels, except among junior high school graduates.
Among college graduates, this belief soared from 49 percent in May 2021 to 55 percent in June 2021. It also climbed among non-elementary graduates from 32 percent to 37 percent, and 36 percent to 45 percent among elementary graduates, both in the same period.
Among junior high school graduates, this view dipped from 47 percent to 44 percent.
'I CAN SPEAK OPENLY WITHOUT FEAR'
Meanwhile, only 45 percent of polled Filipinos in June 2021 also say that they can speak anything openly without fear, even if it is against President Rodrigo Duterte.
This view was somehow higher than in May 2021, when Filipinos were also surveyed about this and only 38 percent agreed.
According to SWS, this belief rose in all areas. In Mindanao, it soared from 32 percent in May, to 43 percent in June. In the Visayas, it also climbed from 40 percent to 49 percent, and 37 percent to 43 percent in Balance Luzon.
This view also rose to 49 percent from 47 percent among Metro Manila residents.
SWS noted that both results from May and June 2021 under the Duterte administration were record-lows since the Marcos regime.
In July 1985, only 33 percent of polled Filipinos believed they can say anything freely, even against then-President Ferdinand Marcos. It rose to 39 percent in May 1986 when the dictator's administration began to end, SWS said.
Duterte earlier was included in a global watchdog's 2021 list of "press freedom predators."
According to a gallery published by Reporters Without Borders last July, the President is among 37 heads of government in the world "who crack down massively on press freedom."
The media watchdog cited that Duterte's "favorite targets" were the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN and Rappler, which it described as "last sources of resistance" to Duterte's "authoritarian excesses."
In 2017, the country's biggest newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was "bought up" and "its journalists were brought to heel" following Duterte's criticism, the RSF said.
ABS-CBN, the country's leading radio and TV network, was denied its application for a fresh broadcast franchise in July 2020 by allies of Duterte in the House of Representatives.
The RSF said Duterte was also targeting news website Rappler and its CEO Maria Ressa with lawsuits brought by his allies.
Malacañang, in response, said the watchdog's classification of Duterte as press freedom predator is "absolutely bereft of merit."
news.abs-cbn.com is the official website of ABS-CBN Corp.