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Philippines orders Netflix to pull out spy drama episodes showing China's illegal 9-dash line

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Netflix has pulled out two episodes of an Australian political drama after a complaint lodged by the Philippine government for its depiction of China's illegal claims in the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

On Monday night, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) had decided to pull out episodes of "Pine Gap" in its decision dated September 28.

"After a thorough review, the Board ruled that certain episodes of 'Pine Gap' are unfit for public exhibition,'" the DFA said in a statement.

Following the decision, the MTRCB ordered Netflix to immediately pull out relevant episodes.

The decision came after a complaint from the DFA as the Australian series shows a map of China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea and violates Philippine sovereignty.

This claim has been invalidated by the July 2016 arbitral ruling that ruled in favor of Manila, which Beijing continues to ignore.

As of Tuesday morning, two episodes of Pine Gap are no longer available in the Philippines.

In its video streaming platform, Netflix indicated that the episodes have been "removed by government demand."

Pine Gap, an Australian television series on Netflix, revolves around an eponymous top-secret U.S.-Australian joint defense facility.
Screengrab from Netflix


Quoting the MTRCB decision, the DFA pointed out that the Austalian show's portrayal of China's illegal nine-dash line was "no accident as it was consciously designed and calculated to specifically convey a message that China's nine-dash line legitimately exists."

"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 MTRCB.

The MTRCB also called out China's "unconventional approach" to gain an upper hand in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea issue using such medium.

Earlier this year, Netflix also removed the entire series in Vietnam over the same issue.

According to a Reuters report in July, Hanoi's Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information said the violations of Netflix "angered and hurt the feelings of the entire people of Vietnam."

CHINA DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MTRCB NETFLIX PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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