EVERY time we conduct our Matalinong Panonood forum, we always discuss those basic principles that guide MTRCB in its mandate to review and classify media materials. One principle that will always be at the forefront of our efforts is the dignity of the human person under Article II, 1987 Philippine Constitution. Proceeding from this, and similarly consistent with the Constitution, is the protection of family and marriage – and with that, upholding the dignity of women and the promotion of the welfare of children.
On 07 November 2016, the MTRCB, through the Presidential Communications Operations Office, was able to share with government communicators the Gender Equality Guidelines promulgated by the government’s Media Gender Equality Committee (MGEC) as early as 2013. These contained norms and standards that are important for media practitioners especially for protecting women from discrimination in media and film.
This forum on gender fair media for government communicators and practitioners outlined the pivotal role of media as an effective conduit and molder of public opinion and highlighted the importance of upholding ethical values and practices. The forum was also designed to promote the use of gender fair language and standards in government correspondence and publications.
MTRCB, as a developmental agency, had long advocated protecting and promoting the welfare and rights of women in media. In particular, MTRCB entered a few years ago into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TV networks and media organizations like ABS-CBN, GMA 7, TV 5, Breakthrough and Milestones Production International, Gateway UHF TV, KBP, NBN, RPN 9, Studio 23, Swara Sug Media Corp., TAPE Inc., and Zoe TV towards gender-sensitive media and entertainment. This partnership has been on-going parallel with our keen monitoring on the proper depiction and rightful portrayal of women in Film and TV.
MTRCB’s interventions to address gender-based violations on film and TV programs include “best practices” conferences (a form of ADR or Alternative Dispute Resolution), periodic review of episodes beyond the “sample episode” system, collaborative review of any remedial measures, and the conduct of customized Matalinong Panonood seminars and get-together. Early then, it is clear that the MTRCB is not a “censors” board, but an “enabling” agency with the resolve to bring out in its stakeholders a healthy and dynamic mix of both responsibility and creativity.
Reckoning an excerpt from MTRCB’s 2016 infomercial, a line most apt to describe the power of media in honing the correct perception of the society goes, “Papaano kung hindi na pala laro ang karahasan sa mga nanonood na kabataan? Kaya kaagapay ninyo ang MTRCB ratings bilang gabay”. Relating the context of karahasan (violence) in media, the context of violence portrayed in film and TV can take many forms, one of it being – the unjust and/or demeaning depiction of gender roles in media.
Still and all, our vision of an intelligible, media literate, and media-empowered society is founded on the welfare of the Filipino family. Thus, the MTRCB will never cease to encourage media practitioners to always wear the proverbial “parent’s hat.”