MTRCB seeks power to regulate streaming services like Netflix, Amazon

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2022 03:54 PM

A close-up image showing the Netflix app on an iPhone in Kaarst, Germany, 08 November 2017. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH ILLUSTRATION
A close-up image showing the Netflix app on an iPhone in Kaarst, Germany, 08 November 2017. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH ILLUSTRATION


MANILA - The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board on Tuesday said updates are needed to widen its jurisdiction to cover international video streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon. 

The board’s authority is limited only to television and movies, based on the Presidential Decree signed into law by former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr, MTRCB Chairperson Diorella Maria Sotto-Antonio said during the deliberation of the agency's 2023 budget.

“With regards to online streamers, hindi pa siya nasasaklaw. Kaya kailangan amyehndahan ang PD 1986, if we want to include the online streamers,” Sotto-Antonio explained.

(Our mandate does not cover online streamers that's why PD 1986 needs to be amended to include that.) 

Even without the board’s jurisdiction over the streaming services, Netflix and Amazon Prime are reaching out to the board for coordination of their content, the MTRCB chairman said.

In April 2022, MTRCB removed the film “Uncharted” from the Philippine cinemas in response to a request from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). 

The DFA asked the board to re-evaluate and pull out Uncharted for containing an image of China’s nine-dash line claim, which was invalidated by an international tribunal in 2016. 

“We expressed our concern about a particular film which involved the sovereignty of our country, I appreciate them so much when MTRCB informed them about this, they immediately took down that particular scene. So they do self-regulation,” Sotto-Antonio said.

On September 20 the Senate Committee on Finance moved to approve MTRCB’s proposed budget of P112 million for 2023. This does not include additional capital outlay or funds for additional equipment to update their monitoring services.

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