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Is it possible for MTRCB to regulate Netflix’s content?

Is it possible for MTRCB to regulate Netflix’s content?

As more people are staying home, we look for different ways to entertain themselves and fight boredom. Many of us even became dependent on Netflix to watch some movies or their favorite series. But the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) have a different perspective on this. It is seeking to regulate the content of this popular streaming platform!

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To guarantee that all contents are age-appropriate for streaming?

Yesterday, MTRCB stated that it has the power to filter the video contents of streaming platforms such as Netflix. MTRCB Legal Affairs Division Chief Attorney Jonathan Presquito said that the agency’s laws can prohibit motion pictures that do not have a rating yet. He explained during the Senate joint panel, “There is a necessity for us to proceed with the regulation, especially during the lockdown. Most of us ang nag-maintain ng sanity po natin ‘yung mga streaming services eh. Netflix, Iflix, lahat ng mga movies na nakikita natin but all of those movies Mr. Chair, unrated po ‘yun.”

Atty. Presquito also told the senators that they have to regulate the streaming services. This is to guarantee that the materials they are showing comply with MTRCB’s current regulations. Also, this is to make sure that all contents are age-appropriate, among other considerations.

He continued, “We don’t want to create an impression that MTRCB will be violating the other laws of the Philippines na halimbawa si Netflix irerehistro sa MTRCB and yet Netflix won’t comply with SEC law on doing business, won’t comply with the BIR law on registration, won’t comply with the local government regulations, mayor’s permit.”

Photo from Philippine Star

On the other hand. Presquito said MTRCB wants the streaming services industry to grown. But it also mentioned that regulatory mechanisms are necessary for this scenario. The author of the Internet Transactions bill Senator Sherwin Gatchalian addressed these concerns from MTRCB. However, he suggested making it a separate issue since the agency is focusing more on the content side.

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Law expert says MTRCB does not have that kind of power

Meanwhile, a law professor from the University of Sto. Tomas explained that regulating Netflix is not feasible. According to Atty. Enrique Dela Cruz, MTRCB does not have the power to regulate the internet. He said that its authority is limited only to movies and television. He continued, “Ako naniniwala na walang necessity na i-regulate mo ang isang online streaming dahil ito ay based on viewership”.

Photo from UST Academia

Furthermore, Dela Cruz said the MTRCB was created under a Presidential Decree during the time of former president Ferdinand Marcos. By that, he argued: “So paano ang intensiyon na i-regulate ang internet? Noong ginawa ang batas mula nang ibigay ang kapangyarihan sa MTRCB wala pang internet. Hindi ito maaaring i-interpret na sumasaklaw sa ganitong medium. Mukhang mali ang approach ng MTRCB sa larangang ito. Wala sa kaniyang kapangyarihan ang mag-regulate ng internet.”

So, what’s your take on this issue guys?

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