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To monitor streaming and internet content, MTRCB needs more authority.

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It is necessary to alter the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board’s (MTRCB) nearly four-decade-old charter to grant the organization the power to prohibit and remove social media content that violates Filipino moral standards.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) or the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have the authority to require the removal of offensive content, whereas the MTRCB can only make endorsements.

“Our limited jurisdiction prevents the board from addressing the growing number of complaints on unlawful content presented through online streaming platforms,” MTRCB chairperson Lala Sotto-Antonio said on Monday during a meeting of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media.

Senator Robinhood Padilla, chair of the committee, stated that he will work to reform the MTRCB’s authority and mission.

Every Filipino family is expected to watch television in an informed and responsible manner, according to the committee’s purpose, Padilla added.

Additionally, he promised to assist the MTRCB and the NTC in getting their own filtering systems.

Padilla submitted Senate Bill 1940, also known as the MTRCB Act of 2023, this week. It will amend Presidential Decree 1986, which established the agency in 1985.

It seeks to empower the MTRCB to take action against publications that “express national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, violence, or stereotyping or prejudice against the Filipino people, and includes the regulation of content online and on-demand streaming services like Netflix.”

According to the proposed legislation, the MTRCB chairperson will have the same title, pay, privileges, and benefits as a department undersecretary.

“Almost 40 years after its founding, the MTRCB demonstrates that it lacks the capacity to address the shifting challenges of our time due to its constrained jurisdiction, organizational design, and operational proficiency. The explanatory note for the bill stated that it “also lacks the enabling capabilities to cover powerful types of visual media that have multiplied in different forms, including internet streaming platforms, on-demand streaming services, and even video games.

The measure stated that “the MTRCB shall have the expressed mandate to efficiently and adequately carry out its purposes and objectives” as the main quasi-judicial government agency in charge of reviewing and categorizing television programs, motion pictures, and publicity materials.

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