Censorship and reducing local films’ reach: Possible effects of MTRCB’s proposed regulation of streaming sites
As pointed out by the Directors' Guild of the Philippines, Inc. and our senators
Sep 4, 2020
Just like many netizens, the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) isn’t happy about this recent proposal from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
On Sept. 3, MTRCB’s legal affairs division chief Atty. Jonathan Presquito told the Senate that the agency should regulate the content of international streaming sites. “For us, streaming services like Netflix are video-on-demand platforms,” said the MTRCB official, adding that materials being shown online through streaming platforms must still be compliant with the agency’s policies.
“Ang binabanggit ng MTRCB law, as long it is a motion picture content, then MTCRB has jurisdiction over that content, regardless kung saang medium mo siya pinalabas,” he said as well.
However, this proposal has received backlash from many, including the country’s very own directors’ guild.
In a statement posted on DGPI’s Facebook page today, its board of directors protested against this so-called Internet Transactions Act.
DGPI protests MTRCB regulation of streaming sites
This week, it was reported that Jonathan Presquito, the Legal Affairs…
“DGPI protests any additional efforts of regulation by MTRCB. Streaming sites like Netflix already have classifications, content warnings and parental controls in place. There is no need for more state control of what adults or their children can or cannot see,” the guild’s statement read.
It also pointed out something that hits close to home: The consequences that this may pose to our homegrown filmmakers. The regulation will hamper the acquisition of content for wider distribution, which will end up in the local industry losing out in revenue. We already can’t open cinemas, and if online distributors also experience hindrances, then what will happen to our film industry? What else will keep the Filipino movie scene afloat?
“Additional regulation would also discourage the acquisition of local content, and thereby hurt the film industry at a time when it is struggling to survive. MTRCB is expected to be an enabling partner of the industry towards authentic self-regulation,” wrote DGPI’s board of directors as well.
Senators also slammed MTRCB’s proposal by commenting on its feasibility. “It’s very impractical. There are thousands of shows on Netflix alone – how will MTRCB review each one? Can the MTRCB review every single content that can be accessed through the internet?” said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) September 4, 2020
Calling the proposed regulation “mind-boggling,” Senator Alan Peter Cayetano also said, “Ang irony pa dito, while Congress and other government agencies are doing everything it can to open up lines of communication with the public, and increase transparency – MTRCB is focused on the outdated mindset of information regulation and censorship.”
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