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Switzerland has passed legislation which will likely ban violent video games like Grand Theft Auto IV. Perhaps its a small consolation that Switzerland enforces mandatory conscription and demands its citizen soldiers to store real rocket launchers in their homes.  (Source: GTA IV TV)

Switzerland's neighbor Germany just passed its own unique take on censoring violent content. It has banned mixed martial arts events like the UFC from German cable. The UFC is suing German regulators.  (Source: USA Dojo)
China appears to be on the bleeding edge of censorship trends

China drew much criticism for its ongoing censorship of "objectionable" materials such as violent video games or pornography.  However, recent legislative efforts in the European Union and elsewhere indicate that it may merely be on the bleeding edge of a new worldwide trend.

France and Australia are both pondering legislation that would enact nationwide internet filters, similar to China's.  Now two other European nations have pitched in their own unique censorship policies on objectionable content.

In Switzerland, a nation with mandatory conscription, whose soldiers maintain rocket launchers (M47 Dragon anti-tank guided rockets, to be precise) in their homes, the government has decided that it will not tolerate violence -- in video games.  The government has passed a law that will likely prohibit the sales of games rated PEGI 16+ or PEGI 18+ by European regulators (corresponding to ESRB 'M' and 'AO' ratings in the U.S.).  The original motion calls for banning any game that "requires cruel acts of violence against humans and humanlike creatures for in-game success."

Meanwhile in Germany, the local independent government-endorsed FCC equivalent, the Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting (BLM), has banned mixed martial arts from being broadcast on the Munich-based cable network German Sports Television (DSF).  This in effect bans the sport in one of the most populous parts of Germany.

Zuffa, parent company of the sport's biggest league, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is appealing the decision.  They point out that the ruling was handed down amid a storm of misinformation, including German media reports that the UFC and other MMA leagues permitted "fights to the death".  In reality MMA fights are relatively kosher -- despite allowing strikes to opponents on the ground, the fight ends as soon as an opponent is stunned (unable to defend themselves), unlike boxing which typically allows competitors to recover twice after being stunned by a knockdown before calling the fight on the third knockdown.

There is a chance that Zuffa will succeed in its suit to overturn the censorship decision.  The WWE -- one of America's popular staged professional wrestling leagues -- was banned by the DLM and then won its own suit, allowing it to return to German cable television.

While those in the U.S. may scoff at such developments in Europe, one must remember that individuals like disgraced attorney Jack Thompson and certain members of the U.S. House and Senate have battled to ban violent video games.  Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) comments, "Common sense should tell us that positively reinforcing sadistic behavior, as these [violent] games do, cannot be good for our children."

And many in the U.S. government have fought to ban mixed martial arts matches from U.S. arenas and from broadcast televisions, despite condoning the violence of boxing.  Senator and former U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ), who reportedly regularly receives ringside boxing tickets, at one time campaigned to further regulate or ban the UFC, which he described as "human cockfighting".  Sen. McCain has since recanted that position, but pressure to ban MMA events remains in many states.

These diverse initiatives all point to a growing trend of global censorship.  China, apparently, isn't alone on its path.

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RE: People are idiots
By ekv on 3/23/2010 4:25:43 AM , Rating: 1
The priorities on censorship are absolutely ridiculous.
I'm curious what your priorities would be.
There are many that don't bat an eyelash at the fact we are recruiting kids right out of high school to ship them overseas to kill other people.
Is this your obligatory blame-Bush comment? If so, we didn't start it.

Is violence to blame? or is it glorification of violence? If you've played Halo or Socom or America's Army, etc., then you know there is some glorification of violence but the emphasis of game-play is on skill and strategy. The flip side of the coin has titles like: Postal 2, Phantasmagoria, Reservoir Dogs, etc.

Human nature is what it is. I personally eschew violence unless absolutely necessary. I don't necessarily get that impression from many Hollywood movies. They have a vested interest in selling their movies and if that includes glorifying violence (or other evil motives) then so be it. That is what I find objectionable, but there is a rating system in place, for the most part.

I can blame the entertainment medium. E.g. I can exercise discernment and judgment when a mass murderer on death-row tries to make money off his exploits.

RE: People are idiots
By AssBall on 3/23/2010 5:23:29 AM , Rating: 4
I'm curious what your priorities would be.

Um.... how about NO censorship?

I like watching Sylvester Stallone decapitate a dude as much as I like watching Jameson get gangbanged. It's all entertainment to me. As far as kids go, it's their parents' job to shield them from content, not the government's.

RE: People are idiots
By clovell on 3/23/2010 11:49:00 AM , Rating: 2
I know you're embellishing to make a point there, but that's kind of disturbing.

I mean really - have you watched Stallone that much?

RE: People are idiots
By ekv on 3/23/2010 2:42:47 PM , Rating: 2
Current law disagrees with you. We have a rating system.

And frankly, kiddie porn is not entertainment. It's a disease. I know counselors who can help....

RE: People are idiots
By icanhascpu on 3/23/2010 3:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, why are you talking about kiddie porn?

RE: People are idiots
By ekv on 3/23/2010 4:04:55 PM , Rating: 2
It's all entertainment to me.
Got a problem, dude?

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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