Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) should reconsider its plan to review digital content on Netflix and other streaming services. Roque is now among Robredo, lawmakers, and the general public who expressed their disapproval of the said move by the MTRCB.

If nearly everybody disapproves of the regulatory body’s plan, let’s find out some of the reasons why.

Absurd as it was to raise the idea, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano found it “mind-boggling” when it seems the MTRCB does not fully comprehend the laws that created them. Former President Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree No. 1986 was designed way before the existence of the online medium. He also criticizes the Board’s priorities, calling them out as having an “outdated mindset.”

If they really want to be relevant at this time, sana ang iniisip is kung paano makakatulong sa pagpapa-improve ng industriya. MTRCB is focused on the outdated mindset of information regulation and censorship. Anong dekada na ba kayo?

Meanwhile, UST law professor Enrique dela Cruz explained in-depth that it is not under the MTRCB to regulate digital content on streaming platforms, but it should be under the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). These content are not just TV shows and movies wrapped and packaged on CDs, but in the extension are also content housed in an online platform.

Once again, Presidential Decree No. 1986 was also stressed out here, citing that the MTRCB can only regulate “movies, television programs, related publicity materials, and/or promotional materials.” The lawyer explained there’s no existing charter or related law to mandate the Board to enforce the regulation whatsoever, pointing out MTRCB has a “misconception” of online content platforms.

You cannot just extract movies and television shows from the Internet and regulate it separately from the medium. It’s just like saying that online newspapers must be covered by print media regulations?

As a former head of MTRCB from 2010 to 2012, Senator Grace Poe also found it “counterproductive” and “unrealistic” to the notion, even so far as calling the plan as “ridiculous.” Technical-wise, she explained there isn’t enough manpower or the resources to view or evaluate every single program there is on such online platforms. She also openly reminded the Board’s primary duties.

The MTRCB’s main role is to classify and in its mandate, at some point, it should give way to self-regulation.

To sum it all up, MTRCB’s push for screening online video streaming content is outside of its jurisdiction. Hopefully, the Board won’t fall on deaf ears that it is reaching out beyond its borders.


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