The Philippine government has ordered video streaming company Netflix to remove parts of the Australian drama series “Pine Gap” on its platform for “violating Philippine sovereignty” and featuring a map of the nine-dash line, an invisible demarcation used by China to refer to its claim in the South China Sea.
Netflix has apparently removed episodes two and three of the series, saying the parts were “removed by government demand.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said it lodged a complaint before the Movie and Television Review and Classification (MTRCB) Board, which handed down its decision dated Sept. 28, 2021 to pull out the said episodes “for showing a map of China’s nine-dash line and violating Philippine sovereignty”.
The DFA said the Board has ruled that certain episodes of “Pine Gap” are “unfit for public exhibition”.
In its decision, the MTRCB noted 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.”
It stressed 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.”
It added that 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”.
“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,” the MTRCB said.
Last July, Vietnam ordered Netflix to pull out the series over the map’s appearance, saying the company’s “violations angered and hurt the feelings of the entire people of Vietnam”.
Both Manila and Hanoi are locked in a territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea.
In a 2016 arbitral ruling, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated the U-shaped nine-dash line that covers almost 80 percent of the South China Sea, including the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.