MANILA - Regulating international streaming sites may not be feasible as this is not covered by the jurisdiction of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, a media and technology law professor said on Friday.
Atty. Enrique Dela Cruz of the University of Sto. Tomas said MTRCB does not have the power to regulate internet or over the top streaming as its jurisdiction is limited only to movies and television.
“Ako naniniwala na walang necessity na i-regulate mo ang isang online streaming dahil ito ay based on viewership,” he said.
Dela Cruz said the MTRCB was created under a Presidential Decree during the time of former president Ferdinand Marcos.
“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,” he said.
The MTRCB on Thursday urged senators to craft a policy that would allow the agency to "regulate" content on international streaming site Netflix and other similar providers.
“The current law doesn’t address the issue pero ‘di ko imumungkahi na gumawa ng batas kasi hindi ito feasible, hindi kayang iregulate ng batas ang internet. Ang nature ng internet self-viewing ito,” he said.
Netflix earlier said it logged some 16 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 after thousands of people were forced to stay indoors as various governments imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The model that other countries are doing is self regulation, he said. He said the United States has a Digital Content Complaints Council where people can file their complaints against the content of online streaming providers.
But he pointed out that the only remedy is to limit or deny access to the sites because they cannot really control the content.
“Doon magrereklamo ang mga tao na merong hindi nagustuhan sa mga palabas over Netflix, Iflix. Halimbawa, meron kang ayaw na programa doon, pano mo mapipigilan 'yun? Ang gagawin mo lang denial of access. Hindi mo naman pwedeng piliin lang kung anong programa ipapalabas sa Pilipinas,” he said.
Instead, Dela Cruz said an appeal should be made to parents and guardians to control their children’s access to online streaming sites.
“Kung 'yun ang problema, dapat mag-appeal tayo sa mga magulang na lagyan ng regulatory programs ang kanilang iPad, laptops at gadgets para ma-filter kung anong materiyales ang ma-acess ng menor de edad,” he said.
If the viewer is of legal age, he said it is not right to tell that person what he can or cannot watch.
“Multiple viewership 'yan. Hindi alam ng Netflix at any given time kung sino nanonood, so paano gagawin na age appropriate?” he stressed.
But like other streaming providers, Netflix has a system where restrictions can be controlled by the parents if the viewer is a minor.
“Nasa control 'yan ng mga magulang kung ano ipapa-access nya sa bata. Nandoon sa self regulation talaga ang pag-asa natin dyan para ‘di maka-access ang mga bata,” he said.