Malacañang on Saturday claimed the media remained “alert and vibrant” in reporting on the government of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The assertion came after a survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), released on Friday, showed that 51 percent of adult Filipinos agreed that critical reporting under Duterte’s administration was “dangerous.”

In response to the poll, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the government “continues to respect the freedom of the speech and the freedom of the press in the country.”

Roque noted that results of the survey, conducted from July 3 to 6, was affected by the hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bid, which was eventually denied.

“Information and news dominating the traditional and social media are therefore about the congressional hearings on the broadcast franchise application of the network. This might have impressed upon the minds of the respondents who participated in the survey,” he said.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises, dominated by Duterte allies, on July 10 voted to deny ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year broadcasting franchise.

Under Duterte, news website Rappler was charged with violations of foreign ownership, securities and tax laws. The Prieto family, which controls the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was evicted from a Makati property in 2017 following a dispute with the government over the lease contract.

In the SWS poll, 30 percent of Filipinos disagreed and 18 percent were undecided with the statement: “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”

An earlier SWS survey showed 56 percent of Filipinos believed the denial of a new franchise to ABS-CBN was a “major blow to press freedom.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro