A Philippine television game show host and his station have apologised after an uproar over a segment showing a six-year-old boy crying while gyrating and mimicking a striptease dancer.
The boy was a contestant on an episode of Willing Willie , a variety and gameshow that features mostly poor Filipinos who earn cash prizes for singing, dancing, telling their stories or playing games.
Social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman condemned the emotional abuse and humiliation suffered by the boy. Soliman said host Willie Revillame and the audience showed no concern for the boy and that the programme amounted to child abuse.
Station TV5 apologised on behalf of Revillame, saying there had been no intention to humiliate the boy who was with his aunt, who approved his performance. It said the boy appeared to be in tears not because he was forced to dance but because he was
playing a role and got scared. The boy earned a prize of $230 for his dance.
Retired advertising industry leader and now Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) chairperson Emily Abrera encouraged other advertisers to follow the lead of companies that have already pulled out their ads from Willie Revillame's game show, Willing Willie.
She said this is a proactive way for companies to encourage quality programming on local television.
Willing Willie has now been pulled following the public uproar over the host letting a crying 6-year-old boy mimic a striptease dancer.
Campaigners launched a campaign on social-networking sites to remove Revillame from the show. The outcry led major sponsors to pull out, including Procter & Gamble, Del Monte, Unilever and Philippine fast-food giant Jollibee.
TV5 network said it wants to improve the program and work with television and advertising industry stakeholders on guidelines for the participation of children in all game and reality TV shows. Host Willie Revillame said he was taking two weeks of
leave after which he will announce if he'll return to television.
The government's Commission on Human Rights and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board said they were investigating.
The popular show Willing Willie has been suspended for one month. It was the subject of complaints after a six-year-old boy was prodded to gyrate like a macho dancer in an episode last March in exchange for a cash prize.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) will count the airing days since April 11 that the show has been voluntarily off the air. The program will also be on probation, or on a per-broadcast permit status, until the
MTRCB decides otherwise.
The MTCRB said: The Committee hereby directs the MTRCB Agents to conduct a daily monitoring of the show, and to submit a weekly report to the MTRCB Chief Legal Counsel, with regard to the faithful implementation of the measures committed by ABC5.
The board found the show's network ABC-5 and network executive Ramon del Rosario guilty of immoral or indecent content.
Philippines' Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has launched its revised classification ratings for television programs.
The new TV ratings will be:
General Patronage (G)
Parental Guidance (PG)
Strong Parental Guidance (SPG)
Banned for Airing on Television (X)
MTRCB said the program advisories were designed to empower parents to exercise caution and vigilance with the viewing habits of their children.
A full-screen written and verbal advisory of the program's classification rating must be shown for at least 10 seconds immediately before the opening credits. Then a standard pictogram advisory must be superimposed on screen throughout the program.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has issued guidelines for the implementation of an additional classification rating for television programs that contain more serious topics and themes. The Strong Parental Guidance
(SPG) tag is given to programs that may not be advisable for children to watch except under the very vigilant guidance and presence of a parent or adult.
Programs under the SPG classification contain more explicit content than those under Parental Guidance category, which is currently the only warning issued by the MTRCB for television shows.
It was approved on Dec. 1 by the MTRCB and becomes effective on Jan. 7.
A program advisory showing the capital letters SPG on a red box with the phrase Strong Parental Guidance Striktong Patnubay at Gabay at the bottom shall be clearly superimposed at the bottom right corner of the TV screen throughout the
entire showing of the program.
The full screen advisory shall specifically declare the content descriptors pertinent to the program being shown, whether it be drugs, violence, sex, horror or language. A voice-over to the effect that the program is classified as SPG shall be
broadcast for at least 20 seconds immediately before the opening credits and midway in the full airing of the show.