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MTRCB ceases plans to censor Netflix

After receiving harsh criticisms from netizens and lawmakers, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) held its initial plans to censor Netflix and other online video streaming services, based on its announcement on the media last September 8. 

MTRCB Legal Affairs Division Chief, Jonathan Presquito, first expressed the board’s intention to review the content of streaming services like Netflix to ensure that the “materials being shown are in compliance with the MTRCB law”.

However, its plan received backlash online and from the government officials, expressing that the plan is “impractical” and even threatened to abolish or cut the agency’s budget if it insists on regulating online streaming services. 

The board emphasized that they only follow what the law dictates. MTRCB Chair Rachel Arenas said, “Not because it’s impractical we’re not going to pursue what is written in the law. Slowly, we have to do something about it, and that’s what we’ve been working on for almost a year now.”

Enrique Dela Cruz, a law professor on media and technology at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), pointed out that MTRCB can only regulate the content of video streaming platforms if they will use a different “charter or model” or if the government passed a new law designed to regulate online content. 

MTRCB then clarified that they “are not censoring” but instead are urging the video-on-demand (VOD) providers to register with the agency to ensure that their content is in line with the board’s classifications. 


Arenas explained, “This [plan to regulate] is not yet cast in stone. We will have to wait for them to read our guidelines. They’re [VOD] amenable to our proposal.” 

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. called on the MTRCB to consider the view of critics, especially the suggestions of lawmakers who have the power to decide on its budget. The national government advised the agency to “carefully evaluate” the plan.


LAYOUT BY: John Romvi Y. Manaloto


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