54% say they’re free to say anything

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Many Filipinos believe the Aquino government respects their right to freedom of speech, survey results say.

According to a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations, 54 percent of the 1,200 Filipinos interviewed last March believe they can say anything openly even if it is against the government.

In contrast, 22 percent disagreed while 24 percent were undecided, for a net agreement of +32 (percentage of those who agree minus those who disagree).

The survey was non-commissioned and was first published in the newspaper Business World.


Malacañang welcomed the latest SWS survey result.

In a text message, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the result indicates that the administration does not patronize media censorship.

“The Philippines is the only country which does not impose censorship or prior restraint for a free and open flow of information,” Coloma said.

The survey respondents were made to comment on the statement, “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against the administration.”

The net agreement of +32, which is considered “strong,” is lower than the +34 recorded in September 2014, and +42 in September 2013.
Under President Aquino, freedom of speech was highest at +42 in September 2013.

The SWS survey also showed that 49 percent of the respondents agreed that the government listens to what the public says compared to 27 percent who disagreed..

Under the regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the freedom of speech rating was a low +4, and soared to +39 in May 1986, or about three months after the People Power revolution.

Under the regime of the late President Corazon Aquino, freedom of speech reached +63 in March 1987 and went down to its lowest at +16 in September 1988.

Under the administration of President Fidel Ramos, freedom of speech was lowest in August 1994 at +28, and peaked at +47 in September 1997.

Under deposed President Joseph Estrada, freedom of speech was +34 in July 2000 before peaking to +48 in January 2001.

Under the administration of President Gloria Arroyo, freedom of speech was +48 in January 2001 but plunged to +22 in May 2005.

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