MTRCB wants streaming platforms to adopt their rating system

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MTRCB wants streaming platforms to adopt their rating system
The board currently doesn't have jurisdiction over content broadcast over the internet

MANILA, Philippines – The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) can classify movies and TV shows according to content. But shows on streaming platforms such as Netflix? The board currently doesn’t have the power to rate them. 

MTRCB Chairperson Maria Rachel Arenas, at the Senate hearing on the MTRCB’s proposed budget for 2020 last September 30, explained that the law currently limits them to traditional movies and television materials, and that the law is silent regarding jurisdiction over content on the internet.

Making things more difficult, Arenas said, most of these video streaming platforms are registered outside the Philippines.  

“The difference is, of course, their law is different from us. I think what I understand is they outsource the reviewers which we cannot do. So we told them during our meeting that they should adopt our rating system,” Arenas said. 

Senator Win Gatchalian, at the same hearing, also brought up the classification issues that come with the advent of these internet properties. 

“The MTRCB rates films and TV shows that come out in movie theaters and in television. But now, there are new technologies – Netflix, Apple TV – and I know for a fact that there are some apps that also show movies and other shows. So how do you keep up with technology in MTRCB?” Gatchalian said.  

“This becomes sort of like a loophole for our regulators to look at. I just want to bring that on the table so that the board can discuss how to transition in today’s 21st century distribution channel,” the senator said. 

Gatchalian illustrated his point by citing the case of the horror movie Eerie, which is now streaming on Netflix. The Star Cinema-produced movie touches on mental health and suicide, and includes portrayals of self-harm, which the senator says may contribute to the romanticization of mental illness.  

“Even teenagers are experiencing mental health conditions right now, and we don’t want to aggravate the situation by allowing films that can inadvertently create issues on mental health to be easily accessible to the youth without the proper warning to parents or guardians. I just want to make this a conversation in the board,” he added. 

Gatchalian said that MTRCB should be looking at the effects of a movie or TV show on a viewer’s mental health when classifying and rating content. –

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