MANILA – Philippine media workers continue to enjoy their freedom in writing any news report concerning the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said on Saturday.
“Media remains alert and vibrant in their reportage of the government and the actions of officials,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Roque was responding to the July 3-6 poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), which showed that 51 percent of Filipinos believed that it is “dangerous” to print or broadcast “anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”
Some 23 percent of the respondents “strongly agreed”, while 27 percent “somewhat agreed”, according to the SWS survey.
The SWS noted that only 30 percent disagreed while 18 percent were ambivalent on the matter.
It interviewed 1,555 adult Filipinos nationwide through mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone.
Roque said the poll results were expected since the SWS asked the question before a House of Representatives panel decided on the franchise of local media giant ABS-CBN Corp.
He was referring to the panel’s decision on July 10 to deny the application of ABS-CBN for a fresh 25-year legislative franchise to resume the network’s broadcast operations.
ABS-CBN ceased its broadcast operations on May 5, a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise, following the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) cease and desist order.
Roque noted that the information and news dominating the traditional and social media during the time of the survey were about the congressional hearings on the franchise application of ABS-CBN.
“Surveys, as we often said, reflect the opinions of the respondents at the time the data were gathered,” he said. “This might have impressed upon the minds of the respondents who participated in the survey.”
Roque, nonetheless, maintained that free speech and press freedom in the country remain protected under Duterte’s leadership.
He also emphasized that Duterte has no plan to file a single libel case against the political opposition.
”Be that as it may, the Duterte administration continues to respect the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press in the country,” Roque said. (PNA)