'Duterte administration continues to respect freedom of speech'
Published on: Monday, August 10, 2020
By: GMA News
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A recent survey showed 51 percent of Filipinos felt it was dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the Duterte administration.
MANILA: Malacañang maintained that the Duterte administration upholds freedom of speech and of the press after a poll found that half of Filipinos said it is dangerous to broadcast or print anything critical of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Be that as it may, the Duterte Administration continues to respect the freedom of the speech and the freedom of the press in the country,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Roque emphasised that “no single libel case has been filed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte against the political opposition.”

“Media remains alert and vibrant in their reportage of the government and the actions of officials,” the Palace official said.

A Social Weather Stations survey, taken last July 3 to 6, found that 51 percent of Filipinos said “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”

The survey also revealed that of the 51 percent who agree with the said statement, 23 percent strongly agree, with the other 27 percent somewhat agreeing.

On the other hand, 30 percent of those surveyed disagreed that it is dangerous to publish or print reports critical of the Duterte administration.

Of the 30 percent who disagreed, 14 percent somewhat disagreed while 17 percent strongly disagreed.

Meanwhile, 18 percent were undecided on the issue.

Roque downplayed the result of the survey, saying that polls only reflect the opinions of the respondents at the time the data were gathered.

“This SWS survey, we understand, was conducted a week (July 3 to 6) before the House of Representatives made their decision on the ABS-CBN broadcast franchise on July 10,” he said.

“Information and news dominating the traditional and social media are therefore about the congressional hearings on the broadcast franchise application of the network,” he added.

The results of the SWS poll came almost a month after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises panel rejected the franchise application of broadcast network ABS-CBN via a 70-11 vote.

The application was rejected even after the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Justice cleared ABS-CBN of violations during House panel hearings.

In December 2019, Duterte said he will see to it by the following year that ABS-CBN is out of business.

Since the House panel rejected ABS-CBN’s franchise application, Duterte has accused ABS-CBN owners of being oligarchs who control the elections, if not the economy of the country.

With this, Roque said the situation “might have impressed upon the minds of the respondents who participated in the survey.


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