Venezuala bans violent videogames and toys

Venezuala has apparently passed a law banning “video and war games and toys prompting violence to help improve child education and prevent misconduct“.
According to the Prensa Latina site (via Slashdot and TorstenFo), the new law “imposes a fine and 2-5 years in prison on the import, production, distribution, sale, hiring and use of video games and toys inciting violent behaviour“. 

Further, “this legislation defines as aggressive every audiovisual material promoting and inciting violence, the use of weapons and toys imitating weapons or stimulating violence and hate.”

Obviously there isn’t nearly enough detail in this press release to have an informed view as to what this new law does or doesn’t do.  BUT, it is interesting that the release is phrased in a way that suggests Venezuala has banned “violent video and war games” per se.  The approach in the US and Europe is rather different: games are age-classified but (other than the most extreme games) no games are banned just for being violent.  So, for example, Modern Warfare 2 was PEGI rated as 18+, making it appropriate for 18 year olds and over, but it wasn’t simply banned just for being “violent”. 

In the US, games classification is adminstered under the ESRB system and the majority of Europe now uses the PEGI system (the UK is due to adopt the PEGI system in the near future). 

How would the Venezualan system work and under whose control?  So far, the only information we have seen about that is the Slashdot source, which said: “Alberto Federico Ravell, former director of opposing news network Globovision, has already come on twitter denouncing the authorities for seizing imported Gameboy, Wii and PlayStation 3 consoles, due to considering them violent“.  Which, if true, speaks for itself really.

If anyone has any further info on the new Venezualan law, please get in touch.  In the meantime, here again is our summary post on censorship and classification in 2009.

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