THE media and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) took the largest hit from the rise of disinformation and fake news under the Duterte administration, as trust ratings in these two institutions dropped significant digits over the past two years, according to a survey.
According to EON Group’s Philippine Trust Index (PTI), trust levels across all institutions dipped over the past two years, signifying an overall decline in how the public see the church, academe, government, media, business and NGOs. Of these six, the media and NGOs endured the largest hits, which experts attributed to a series of events that took place during the period.
The PTI, which was released to the public on Monday, reported trust in the media declined by nearly double digits to 69 percent, from 78 percent in 2017. Among the general public, trust in traditional media remains at a high of 80 percent in TV networks; 74 percent in radio; and 63 percent in print. On the other hand, in spite of high social-media usage, Filipinos are hesitant to believe everything the digital media has to say.
Trust in social media nearly breached the halfway mark at 51 percent, while in online news sites it was at 44 percent and in blogs, 33 percent.
However, more and more consumers of information are becoming wary of how media outfits deliver their news. There has been a general decline in the trust drivers of the media, as all five indicators of trust in the institution suffered a drop of at least 6 percent. For one, fewer Filipinos believe journalists report only the truth and nothing but—at 72 percent, from 84 percent in 2017.
Al Jazeera English Correspondent Jamela Alindogan said this could be attributed to the disinformation campaign rampant online under the Duterte administration. It also did not help, she argued, that President Duterte himself is attacking his critics every now and then, one of the casualties being certain press personalities.
Trust in NGOs
On the other hand, trust in NGOs slumped by 22 percent to 37 percent, from 59 percent in 2017, the PTI reported.
According to the index, while it is true Filipinos turn to NGOs to seek help, the institutions are under scrutiny for some questionable agendas. From six, only five in 10 Filipinos believe NGOs are incorruptible and free from political interests.
The PTI further reported trust in the government dropped to 76 percent, from 80 percent in 2017, which political analyst Richard Heydarian said should not be alarming for the state, but should be taken into context by the public.
Heydarian said there is a general stability in the public’s trust and confidence in the President and his administration, as Duterte has a Mindanao base that he could use whatever happens to the political landscape. Citing data from the PTI, Heydarian argued that the highest trust level in the government is in Mindanao at 89 percent, while the lowest it got is in Metro Manila at 63 percent.
All trust drivers in the government declined by at least 5 percent, but the most significant is in the number of Filipinos trusting authorities will put corrupt politicians to jail, slipping to 69 percent, from 82 percent in 2017.
Meanwhile, trust in the church and in the academe remains at a high at 90 percent, from 93 percent; while in business, it’s at 71 percent, from 75 percent. Among business sectors, the health care services was the most trusted, while the mining industry was the least.