Almost half of Filipinos believe it is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, even if it is the truth, according to a survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS).
The survey, conducted between September 12 and 16, found 45 percent of adult Filipinos agree that it is dangerous to criticize the current administration while only 19 percent disagree.
However, the SWS survey also found 42 percent agree that they can say anything they want, openly and without fear, even if it is against Duterte.
In the May 2021, June 2021, and September 2021 surveys, the statement tested by SWS was, “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against President Duterte.”
The statement, “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against the administration” was first tested by SWS in July 1985, during the Marcos regime, and found only 33 percent agreed, while 29 percent disagreed, for a record-low net agreement of a 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.
It averaged +33 during the administration of Cory Aquino, +38 in the time of Fidel Ramos, +41 in the time of Joseph Estrada, +34 in the time of Gloria Arroyo, and +32 in the time of Noynoy Aquino.
The poll survey was conducted almost three weeks before Filipino journalist Maria Ressa won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ressa is a critic of Duterte's anti-illegal drug campaign that reportedly summarily killed thousands of suspected drug pushers in 2016.
The statement, “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth,” was highest in the Visayas (+31), followed by Balance Luzon (+28), Mindanao (+23), and Metro Manila (+17).
On the other hand, net agreement with the statement, “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against President Duterte,” was highest in Metro Manila (+30), followed by Balance Luzon (+19), the Visayas (+19), and Mindanao (+15).