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Saturday, February 24, 2024

MTRCB explains decision to approves release of ‘Barbie’ film in the Philippines

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The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has granted permission for the commercial release of the Hollywood film Barbie in the Philippines, disregarding calls for a ban over concerns related to the nine-dash line issue. 

A photo of the full map that shows the route of the make-believe journey of Barbie from Barbie Land to the ‘real world’ Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

In an official statement sent by the MTRCB to Manila Standard Entertainment, the agency announced that the film has been given a Parental Guidance (“PG”) rating, allowing its release next week. 

The board clarified that a scene featuring a map drawing in the film does not represent the nine-dash line but rather depicts the fictional journey of the character Barbie from Barbie Land to the “real world.” 

“Having conducted two review sessions, thorough deliberations, and consultations with relevant government agencies, including a legal expert on the West Philippine Sea, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has given the film ‘Barbie’ a Parental Guidance (“PG”) rating, which means viewers below thirteen (13) years old must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult,” said MTRCB in a statement.

“Considering the context by which the cartoonish map of the character ‘Weird Barbie’ was portrayed in the film, the Review Committee is convinced that the contentious scene does not depict the ‘nine-dash line.’ Instead, the map portrayed the route of the make-believe journey of Barbie from Barbie Land to the ‘real world,’ as an integral part of the story,” it added.

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MTRCB also issued a stern warning to filmmakers, producers, and distributors, stating that films depicting the nine-dash line will face sanctions or potential bans, citing Philippine laws and the South China Sea Arbitration Award. 

It also stated that “sternly warns all filmmakers, producers, and distributors that it will not hesitate to sanction and/or ban films that exhibit the “nine-dash line” for being contrary to law, pursuant to Section 3(c)(d) of Presidential Decree No. 1986, the Republic Act No. 9522, otherwise known as the Philippine Baselines Law, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s South China Sea Arbitration Award, whose anniversary we, as a nation, are celebrating today.”

Earlier, a spokesperson from Warner Bros. Film Group explained that “the map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing. The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.’ It was not intended to make any type of statement.”

The statement of the film producer was released after it got banned in Vietnam due to a controversial map drawing depicting a map of Southeast Asia showing the nine-dash line.

Barbie stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. 

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