MANILA, Philippines — The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has ordered Netflix to cut out certain episodes of a political drama which showed a map of China’s “illegal” nine-dash line in the South China Sea for “violating Philippine sovereignty,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.
The DFA said it earlier lodged a complaint before the MTRCB regarding particular episodes of “Pine Gap” which is being shown in the globally popular television streaming service. The MTRCB handed down its decision on the complaint last September 28.
“After a thorough review, the Board ruled that certain episodes of ‘Pine Gap’ are ‘unfit for public exhibition.’ The MTRCB also ordered the immediate pull-out of relevant episodes by its provider, Netflix Inc, from its video streaming platform,” the DFA said in a statement.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs expects Netflix to comply with the ruling,” it added.
In its decision, the DFA said the MTRCB underscored that “under a whole-of-nation approach, every instrumentality of the government, whenever presented with the opportunity, has the responsibility to counter China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea to assert the Philippines’ territorial integrity.”
The MTRCB further noted that the “portrayal of the illegal nine-dash line in Pine Gap is no accident as it was consciously designed and calculated to specifically convey a message that China’s nine-dash line legitimately exists,” according to the DFA.
“Such portrayal is a crafty attempt to perpetuate and memorialize in the consciousness of the present generation of viewers and the generations to come the illegal nine-dash line,” the DFA said, citing the MRTCB’s decision.
“Using the medium of a motion picture is but China’s unconventional approach to gain an upper hand in the territorial conflict in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea,” it added.
Manila and Beijing have been locked in a long-standing maritime dispute.
In 2013, the Philippines filed a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in the Netherlands challenging China’s nine-dash line claim that covers nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.
The PCA, in July 2016, ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s sweeping assertion over the South China Sea. Beijing has repeatedly refused to recognize the PCA ruling.