Switzerland Bans Violent Video Games, Germany Bans MMA on TV
March 22, 2010 4:26 PM
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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
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)
, "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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