Los Angeles, July 5 (IANS) Days after Vietnam banned Warner Bros’ much-anticipated ‘Barbie’ movie over a scene that depicts a map of the South China Sea with the contested “nine-dash line”, the Philippines is now weighing whether to follow suit.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board of the Philippines recently posted a notice to its website that read: “We confirm that the Board has reviewed the film Barbie today, 04 July 2023. At this time, the assigned Committee on First Review is deliberating on the request of Warner Brothers F.E. Inc. for a Permit to Exhibit.”
It did not explain the reason for the statement, as per Deadline. The controversial nine-dash line represents China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims. The U-shaped line was repudiated in an international arbitration ruling by a court in The Hague in 2016, however, China refuses to recognise the ruling, as per Deadline.
Speaking to CNN Philippines, local Senator Francis Tolentino said: “If the invalidated nine-dash line was indeed depicted in the movie Barbie, then it is incumbent upon the MTRCB to ban the same as it denigrates Philippine sovereignty.” In a video statement, Philippines Senator Risa Hontiveros said: “The movie is fiction, and so is the nine-dash line.”
She did not call for a ban, but added: “At the minimum, our cinemas should include an explicit disclaimer that the nine-dash line is a figment of China’s imagination.”
On Monday, Vietnam’s National Film Evaluation Council said it was banning all screenings of the film for its inclusion of a map showing the nine-dash line. The Greta Gerwig-directed ‘Barbie’ stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken. In 2022, the Philippines banned the movies ‘Abominable’ and ‘Uncharted’ for the same reason.