Is the Philippine press free to publish content without receiving threats? Many Filipinos think not.

A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey found that 45 percent of Pinoys think printing or broadcasting anything critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, even if it was the truth, was dangerous.

The survey, conducted from Sept. 12 to 16, 2021, had 1,200 respondents.

Each was asked to agree or disagree with the statement, “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”

According to the SWS, 29 percent were undecided while 19 percent disagreed.

The respondents were also asked if they agreed with the statement, “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against the administration.”

Forty-two percent agreed with the statement, 28 percent were undecided and 22 percent disagreed.

The SWS noted that the net agreement scores in its recent poll were lower in all surveys except during the time of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque recently claimed that press freedom in the country was alive and well, following Maria Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize win.

Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte was named among 37 world leaders labeled as press freedom predators by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

The Philippines ranked 138th among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. John Ezekiel J. Hirro