Sen. Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla has started exploring ways to stop the abuse of TikTok, YouTube, and other “new media” platforms that use streaming content.
This was after he learned that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has limited powers in acting against inappropriate content specially on such new platforms.
“I am concerned – is there no law on this yet? We must thus craft a bill on this, keeping in mind its legality under the Constitution)?” Padilla, who chairs the Senate Committee on Mass Media and Public Information, said Tuesday at the hearing of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on the budget of the MTRCB for 2023.
Padilla also asked the MTRCB under Lala Sotto-Antonio on what it needs the Senate to do, to address this problem – but without violating the Constitution and its guarantee of freedom of expression.
Sotto-Antonio noted the MTRCB’s powers are limited by the provisions of Presidential Decree 1986, and currently cover only content on television, including “TeleRadyo” or radio shows that feature televised content. She added the MTRCB also does not have jurisdiction over “straight news” without “public affairs” content.
When asked by Padilla if the MTRCB has jurisdiction over streaming platforms like TikTok and YouTube, Sotto-Antonio said it does not, due to the limitations of PD 1986 which was crafted in the 1980s. “Kaya hindi pa kasama ang online streaming sa MTRCB (That is why our charter does not yet cover online streaming),” she said.
For now, Sotto-Antonio said they coordinate with companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime that have their own parental controls. She said they are cooperative in acting on questionable content.
“Can you call them and talk to them about it? With Sen. Robin, we can draft together something that will not make it more stringent but will allow evaluation if they are showing it here,” Sen. Grace Poe, who chairs the Committee on Finance subcommittee and is a former head of the MTRCB, said.
Padilla added his Senate Committee on Mass Media and Public Information will hold hearings on the issue and may invite representatives of Netflix and other streaming platforms – as well as those from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.
He said it is better if all stakeholders are included in crafting a proposed measure.