You too, Netflix: Filipino gov’t censors want video-streaming services regulated

<i>Film grab from 2006’s Click via Sony Pictures</i>
Film grab from 2006’s Click via Sony Pictures

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) — the government agency charged with reviewing and classifying films and TV programs in the Philippines — today asked senators to allow them to regulate content on international video-streaming services, such as Netflix.


“Stream services like Netflix are video-on-demand platforms. We have to regulate those platforms. We have to ensure that those materials being shown on those platforms are compliant with MTRCB laws,” Jonathan Presquito, the board’s chief for legal affairs said in today’s Senate hearing. 

Presquito insisted in English and Filipino that the agency has “jurisdiction of that content regardless where it is shown. The internet is just a medium. Just because it’s being shown on the internet, doesn’t mean it isn’t covered by the MTRCB law.”

He also cited other countries like South Korea, where Netflix shows are being censored before being streamed.

Read: MTRCB to critics of Duterte’s cursing: Sorry, we can’t censor the news

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel meanwhile, was skeptical about the proposal, and said that the Senate will “think it through.”

“It’s either we update our laws to catch up with technology or we enforce our archaic laws and hold back technological progress,” Pimentel said.

Cooped-up-at-home Pinoys have turned to streaming services like Netflix during the now six-month-long quarantines that were meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Netflix has credited some 16 million new global subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 to the worldwide lockdowns. The video streaming giant has also introduced bite-sized local subscription plans in March, allowing Pinoys to binge-watch from their phones and other mobile devices.


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