MTRCB suspends SMNI programs hosted by Duterte, Badoy and Celiz

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
MTRCB suspends SMNI programs hosted by Duterte, Badoy and Celiz
Kuha kina dating NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy (kaliwa) at Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz (kanan)
Video grab mula sa Facebook page ng SMNI News

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:03 p.m.) — The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has slapped a two-week preventive suspension on two programs of the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), including one hosted by former President Rodrigo Duterte, for allegedly airing content unfit for broadcast.

In a release, the MTRCB said that it has suspended SMNI programs "Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa," hosted by Duterte, and "Laban Kasama ang Bayan," hosted by former government anti-communist task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz to "prevent further violations or protect the interest and welfare of the public."

MTRCB said that it received complaints over the two shows' airing of unverified news content, alleged death threats and foul language, all of which violate the government's guidelines and standards governing broadcasts under Presidential Decree 1986

The regulatory board said that the complaints pertained to two episodes of Duterte's show — aired in October and November — where there was an alleged use of death threats and profane language.

Duterte allegedly threatened violence against House lawmaker Rep. France Castro (ACT Teachers) during his October 10 episode, where he said, specifically: "You France, you communists that I want to kill."

In a November episode, Duterte linked Castro to communist rebels anew, saying: "Communists should be killed, you should be included."

Castro has filed a grave threats complaint against Duterte over the October 10 episode and included Duterte's remarks in November in a supplemental complaint.

Meanwhile, Badoy and Celiz alleged in their show that Romualdez has spent P1.8 billion in travels, triggering a House probe that led to them being detained in the lower chamber after they were cited in contempt for their answers. Both hosts have apologized for the incident, with Celiz saying that his "source" on the information turned out to be wrong.

In its release, MTRCB said that the decision to suspend Badoy and Celiz' show was unanimous, while a majority of its members voted to suspend Duterte's program.

'Long overdue'

Castro said that the suspension order against SMNI's two shows is a "long over-due" action from the regulatory board.

The lawmaker added: "At last, something has been done to curtail the constant red-tagging, spreading of disinformation (fake news) and threatening of individulas using these two shows as well as the network."

"Hopefully this marks the start of SMNI and the people behind it being made accountable. The authorities should look into the pattern and consistent red-tagging, terrorist-labelling for longer and more decisive measures," Castro added.

During the House's probe into SMNI's possible franchise violations earlier this month, media law expert Rico Domingo stressed there is a “litany of acts” that SMNI is “guilty of broadcasting on air.”

The law professor, who is also part of the Movement Against Disinformation, said that red-tagging and the spread of false information are “unprotected speeches (that) cannot be countenanced.”

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