Friday, June 30, 2006

MTRCB suspends i-Witness

From Inside PCIJ:

Censors suspend “i-Witness”

"THE guardians of the country’s morality have spoken.

"In a June 22 ruling received by GMA 7 Network yesterday, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) judged the “i-Witness” episode, 'Lukayo: Hindi ito Bastos,' to have 'offensive content' and suspended the award-winning documentary program for two weeks.

"The controversial episode, aired in May, featured the women of Kalayaan, Laguna who perform a nearly 200-year old ritual that consists of playfully parading and displaying wooden phalluses during weddings. The ritual celebrates marriage and binds communities.

"Ramon Obusan, the 2006 National Artist for Dance who was featured in the 'i-Witness' documentary, says that the ritual also allowed the women taking part to 'assert their independence' and to mock male power, which the phallus represents.

"But the MTRCB said that featuring the ritual in a television program was contrary to its rules and could not be considered acceptable for general viewing 'applying contemporary Filipino values and good customs as standards.'

"'The Board does not pass judgment over the culture or tradition of indigenous communities, nor does the Board abhor their centuries-old rituals,' said the MTRCB ruling, contained in a letter written by MTRCB chair Ma. Consoliza Laguardia to Severino and GMA 7’s program management head Jose Mari Abacan. 'But when these rituals, which you yourself consider as ‘obscure,’ are shown on television, it is the primary duty of the Board to protect the viewing public, since there may be offensive contents in these little-known traditions.'

Click here for more. For more details, go to the blog of Howie Severino, who did the report for the show. Photo on the left taken from his blog.

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