The Internet should not be censored, according to a majority of people in 22 of 24 countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan “fact-tank” based in the United States.
The study released in March 2014 found that people in these countries will resist censorship of Internet access, with those from Venezuela registering the highest percentage (89 percent) of that response.
In the Philippines—which shared 10th to 11th spot with Malaysia—73 percent or seven in every 10 respondents said untrammeled Internet access is either very important or somewhat important to them.
Indonesia, the third Southeast Asian country that was included in the study, ranked 22nd out of 24, with only 55 percent of the respondents saying Internet freedom is important to them.
Support for Internet freedom is high across all age groups in the Philippines but up to 80 percent of Filipinos aged 18 to 29 valued it the most. Only 73 percent of Filipinos aged 30-49, and only 64 percent of those 50 years old and above, gave the same response.
In most of the countries studied, the Pew Research Center said, “young people are particularly likely to consider internet freedom a priority.” Support for unrestricted access is also stronger in countries where Internet penetration is high.
The Philippine Congress passed in 2013 a law regulating the use of cyberspace, Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which was met with criticism from citizens and eventually questioned before the Supreme Court.
On February 11, 2014, the high tribunal upheld the constitutionality of majority of the law’s provisions, including a controversial section on cyber libel that imposes a higher penalty for defamation committed online. The high court also upheld sections of the law allowing the preservation, disclosure, and search, seizure, and examination of computer data by law enforcement authorities.
What Filipinos say: Internet access sans censorship
(From March 2014 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center)
Pew Research Center (March 19, 2014). Emerging and Developing Nations Want Freedom on the Internet.