Majority of Filipinos agree: 'Dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical' of Duterte gov't

Majority of Filipinos agree that it is “dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical” of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, "even if it is the truth."

A Social Weather Stations national mobile phone survey conducted from July 3 to 6 found that 51% of Filipinos agree that it is risky to publish or air reports that are critical of the government. Thirty percent of the respondents disagreed, while 18% are undecided. 

This gives a net agreement score of +21, which SWS classified as “moderate” – a dip of 10 points from June 2019's “strong” net score of +31.

However, SWS said that those who strongly agree with the statement rose from 16% in June 2019 to 23% in July 2020. Those who somewhat agree fell from 35% to 27%.

Those who strongly disagree rose from 8% to 17%, while those who somewhat disagree went from 12% to 14%.

The respondents where asked how much they agreeed or disagreed with this statement: “Mapanganib na mag-lathala/mag-print o mag-broadcast ng anumang kritikal sa administrasyon, kahit na ito ay ang katotohanan. (It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.)”

Strong agreement among less-educated and in Visayas, Mindanao

Visayas and Mindanao registered stronger net agreement scores – +26 and +28, respectively – than Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, which both had a moderate score of +16.

There was also a strong net agreement among less educated Filipinos – +41 for non-elementary graduates. 

There was a moderate score among elementary graduates (+25) and junior high school graduates (+21) and neutral among college graduates (+9) 

The same survey also showed that 56% of Filipinos view the rejection of ABS-CBN’s franchise as "a major blow to press freedom."

The survey was conducted using phones and computer-assisted telephone interviews with 1,555 adult Filipinos nationwide: 306 in the National Capital Region, 451 in Balance Luzon or Luzon outside of Metro Manila, 388 in Visayas, and 410 in Mindanao.

It was conducted weeks before the controversial anti-terror law took effect.

The nationwide survey has a sampling error of ±2% for national figures and ±6% for Metro Manila, ±5% for Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

During the survey period, House leaders aired personal gripes against the network. A July 6 franchise hearing extended to over 10 hours. ABS-CBN denied accusations of political bias.

ABS-CBN was forced off air early May, with lawmakers rejecting its bid for a fresh franchise for alleged "numerous violations" on July 10 – a decision widely condemned as politically motivated. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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