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Netflix removes spy drama episodes after Philippines’ complaint over China map

MANILA – Netflix Inc has removed two episodes of spy drama “Pine Gap” from its streaming service in the Philippines, after the Southeast Asian country rejected scenes involving a map used by China to assert its claims to the South China Sea.

The Philippines on Monday asked Netflix to remove certain episodes of the six-part Australian series, saying the map depicted on the show was a violation of its sovereignty.

The second and third episodes of the show were no longer available in the Philippines by late Monday, with Netflix announcing on its platform that those episodes had been “removed by government demand”. It did not elaborate.

Netflix did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

China lays claim to most of the South China Sea waters within the so-called nine-dash line, a U-shaped feature used on Chinese maps. Parts of the resource-rich waters are also contested by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

After a thorough review, the Philippines’ movie classification board has ruled that certain episodes of Pine Gap were “unfit for public exhibition”, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

Earlier this year Netflix removed “Pine Gap” from its services in Vietnam following a similar complaint from the country’s broadcast authorities.

The Philippine films board, acting on the DFA’s complaint, handed down its ruling on Sept. 28. It was not clear why the decision was only made public now.

The board, according to the DFA, noted that the appearance of the map was “no accident as it was consciously designed and calculated to specifically convey a message that China’s nine-dash line legitimately exists”.

The board believes 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”, the DFA said. — Reuters

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