Philippines internet freedom worsened in past year — report
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite improvements In internet access in the Philippines under the present administration, overall internet freedom in the country has slightly worsened in the past year, according to a report released by human rights advocacy group Freedom House.

The Philippines scored 28 out of 100 in Freedom on the Net 2017 report, down two points from the country’s performance in last year’s report.

Countries with low scores are considered “more free” than those with high scores. The report is based on various indicators, including obstacles to access, limits on content and violation of users’ rights.

Overall, the Philippines ranked 14th out of 65 countries in the list. It scored nine out of 25 on obstacle, six out of 35 in content and 13 out of 40 in violations.

In its country report, Freedom House noted the Philippines is among the countries that mobilized paid online commenters to manipulate social media and public opinion.

“Content is not subject to significant government control, but reports of commenters paid to post political content increased during the coverage period,” it said of the situation in the Philippines.

It cited admissions of self-confessed members of the so-called keyboard army who claim to have received at least P500 a day for operating fake social media accounts supporting President Duterte or attacking his detractors.

“Both state and non-state actors actively use the internet as a platform to discuss politics, especially during elections, and the phenomenon of manipulation is not new. One commenter admitted being active in political campaigns dating back to 2010,” read the report.

“But reports published in the last year provided the clearest evidence to date of widespread online campaigning with undeclared sponsorship,” it added.

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