Nearly half of Filipinos believe it is ‘dangerous’ to publish criticisms vs govt, survey says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14)— Nearly half of Filipinos believe it is “dangerous” to print or broadcast things critical of the administration, according to a recent survey.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll conducted Sept. 12 to 16 and released on Thursday found 45% of adult Filipinos agreed with the statement, “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.” Of this percentage, 15% said they strongly agree, while 30% somewhat agreed, SWS said.

Meanwhile, 19% of the respondents said they disagreed with the statement while 29% were undecided.

This translates to a net agreement score of a “moderate” +26 — a six-point increase from the +20 (45% agree and 25% disagree) tallied in June.

SWS also noted that the net agreement with the statement rose in all areas except Metro Manila. The highest score was in the Visayas (+31), followed by Balance Luzon (+28) and Mindanao (+23). The capital region logged a +17 net agreement.

42% say they can speak freely

The survey also found 42% of respondents agreed with the statement “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against President Duterte.” Of this percentage, 16% strongly agreed, while 26% somewhat agreed.

Twenty-two percent meanwhile disagreed, while 28% were undecided, according to the independent pollster.

This gives a net agreement score of +20 — a slight rise from June's +18.

SWS, however, noted that the net agreement scores in May, June, and September of this year are “lower than in previous surveys when the test statement was ‘I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against the administration.’”

The nationwide poll was conducted through face-to-face interviews and included a sample of 1,200 adults. The survey had a ±3% error margin, and ±6% for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

While Malacañang has yet to comment on the latest survey, it has previously said that freedom of speech is guaranteed under the Constitution.