This is exactly what I’m talking about.
The government’s ministry of censor, MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board), recently made its futile presence felt and told the country’s biggest television networks to regulate the content of their comedy shows.
As most regulators and statist policymakers say, ‘never let a crisis to go to waste’.
Although I found Vice Ganda’s rape joke to be utterly unnecessary and not funny, I defend his/her right against MTRCB’s creeping censorship. Yes, I’m defending his right to offend people, and that’s exactly what he did.
But we don’t need the MTRCB to exact justice on ‘irresponsible’ comedians , as we already have the power to guarantee that justice is served. A free market (of goods and ideas) empowers ordinary people to reject things they dislike, to boycott abusive businesses and industries, and to patronize products, people and ideas they like or agree with. That’s the power of the market.
The truth is, boycott or withdrawal of support is more disastrous than government censorship or intervention. This is what MSNBC and other liberal networks in the United States are currently experiencing. Abusive and irresponsible companies fear boycott and bad public image because they might lose money and go out of business.
The problem in this country is that we don’t have a free television industry. Our Constitution protects oligarchic owners of TV networks against outside or foreign competition. This is why many Filipinos don’t patronize local TV networks because of the poor quality of their shows, media bias, and political partisanship. But this is another story.
Now, MTRCB’s most expected move is obviously in response to stand-up comedian Vice Ganda’s controversial ‘gang rape’ joke about GMA7 talent Jessica Soho.
Many television personalities and opinion writers cried foul when the ABS-CBN talent, who started as a stand-up comedian, joked about rape, particularly gang rape involving the insertion of a roasted pig.
In response to this already bloated issue, MTRCB scheduled separate conferences with the major TV networks in June to address the “migration of comedy bar humor to television.”
The censor board chairman Eugenio Villareal said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’, a morning news and talk show program, that “comedy bar humor” and “green jokes” may not be appropriate for the general viewing public, especially young viewers.
“There are types of entertainment that shouldn’t be seen or heard by kids. We have many industry colleagues who migrated from comedy bars to noontime or variety shows,” Villareal said.
Here’s an additional report from Inquirer.net:
In an SMS sent to the Inquirer, Villareal said that “the balancing of free expression and creativity, and age-appropriate entertainment and audience sensitivity shall be addressed.”
He added: “Self-regulatory measures shall also be considered.”
ABS-CBN corporate communications head Bong Osorio told the Inquirer by phone that the network will meet with the MTRCB on June 3, to likewise tackle pertinent guidelines regarding the possible exhibition on free television comic Jose Marie Viceral or Vice Ganda’s controversial May 17 concert at the Smart Arantea Coliseum, which featured the so-called “comedy bar humor.”
I believe MTRCB’s creeping intervention and censorship is part of its publicity stunt– to perhaps tell the public and the Aquino administration that it’s doing its job to promote responsible speech and protect young viewers against ‘bad humor’ and ‘green jokes’.
The thing that MTRCB (intentionally) missed is that Vice Ganda’s Araneta comedy concert was not televised. Apparently, parts of her gag show were captured via hand-held recording devises by her fans who then uploaded clips on YouTube.
So, obviously interventionist MTRCB’s creeping move to set preventive measures designed to censor TV networks is based on false premise or baseless conjecture. In Filipino, they call it “maling kutob”, and people at the MTRCB are getting more and more paranoid.
I always believe that the TV networks have the ability and willingness to police their own shows and talents.
But if the government’s censor czars and authorities really wanted to regulate or censor the content of TV networks’ comedy shows, they need to do the following:
- Define the term “comedy bar humor”. What constitutes “comedy bar humor”?
- Define “green jokes”. What are green jokes and when is the act of making green jokes punishable?
- What’s wrong with comedy talents migrating from comedy bars to variety shows? That’s essentially part of their job. What are our authorities gonna do next? Regulate the comedy profession?
What’s next? Will censor bullies propose to monitor and regulate bloggers for criticizing the MTRCB and the government itself? Oh, wait! We already have the Cybercrime law!
MTRCB needs to fuck off!
How Twitter-folks reacted to this issue
Some people agree with MTCRB’s crackdown
Others say MTRCB’s reaction OA!