SWS Survey shows freedom of speech is very strong in PH

While some sectors say that freedom of speech is not exercised in the Philippines, a recent survey from poll firm Social Weather Stations (SWS) reveals that Filipinos think otherwise.

In its survey results released on August 3, 2019, the SWS said 59 percent of Filipinos agree while 18 percent disagree that “they are free to say anything openly without fear even if it is against the administration”.

The survey, conducted from June 22-26 this year, showed that 23 percent are undecided about the matter.

It also revealed that 67 percent agree, 23 percent are undecided, and 10 percent disagree.

“Mass media in the Philippines have freedom of speech, of expression and of the press,” for a very strong net agreement of +57,” SWS statement said.

Surveys of freedom of speech

The poll firm first tested this type of survey 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.

Freedom of speech has been probed 40 times from 1985 to the present. Its net score averaged +33 during the administration of Corazon Aquino, +38 in the time of Fidel Ramos, +41 in the time of Joseph Estrada, +34 in the time of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and +32 in the time of Benigno Aquino III.

“In the five times it was surveyed under the Duterte administration, it ranged from a moderate +23 to a strong +41,” the SWS release read.

The recent survey debunks assumptions of online media agency Rappler who has earlier argued their freedom of speech is being challenged as the news outlet projects itself as a fierce critic of the administration. (Christine Cudis, PNA)