Six in 10 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 non-commissioned Social Weather Stations survey conducted from November 21 to 25, 2020, but released only on Friday, March 19, found that 65% of adult Filipinos agree that it is risky to publish or air reports that are critical of the government. Sixteen percent of the respondents disagreed, while 18% were undecided.
This gives a strong net agreement score of +49 – a sharp increase or up by 28 points from the moderate +21 in July 2020.
Net agreement with the statement was highest Mindanao (+58), where Duterte hails from, followed by Visayas (+55), rest of Luzon (+47), and Metro Manila (+30).
All areas had an increase of net agreement score, with Mindanao up by 30 points from a moderate +28 in July 2020 to a very strong +58.
In Visayas, it sharply rose from moderate (+26) in July 2020 to very strong (+55) in November 2020.
In Balance Luzon, it rose from moderate +16 to strong +46.
It was also the same in Metro Manila, which was up from moderate +16 to strong +30.
Across all educational levels – from non-elementary graduates to college graduates – there was also an increase in the net agreement:
SWS classifies scores of +50 and above as “very strong"; +30 to +49 as "strong"; +10 to +29, "moderate", +9 to -9, "neutral"; -10 to -29, "poor"; -30 to -49, "weak"; -50 and below, “very weak.”
Results also showed that 65% of respondents agreed with the statement: “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against the administration.”
This gives a strong net agreement score of +46, up by 5 points from the strong +41 recorded in June 2019.
SWS said “this is the highest since the strong +48 in January 2001.”
SWS first used the statement in July 1985, during the Marcos regime. At the time, SWS found only 33% agreed and 29% disagreed with the statement, registering a low net score of neutral +3.
Net agreement rose to a strong +39 in May 1986 and reached its all-time high of a very strong +63 in March 1987.
Its average net score during the term of Cory Aquino was +33; Fidel V. Ramos, +38; Joseph Estrada, +41; Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, +34; and Benigno Aquino III, +32.
Under Duterte, it has ranged from a moderate +23 to a strong +49.
From the time of the previous survey to the November 2020 survey, among the major news was the shutdown of ABS-CBN, widely seen as a big blow to press freedom in the country.
The survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide: 600 in Balance Luzon and 300 each in the National Capital Region, Visayas, and Mindanao.
It has sampling errors of ±2.5% for the national level and ±4% for Balance Luzon, and ±6% for the others. – Rappler.com
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 email@example.com