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Pages tagged "R18+ video games"
Ros Phillips on The Political Spot
· September 18, 2012 10:00 AM
Ros Phillips is the National Research Officer of FamilyVoice Australia. She spoke with the ACL's Ben Williams about the release of the new Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, which for the first time include an R18+ restricted classification category for games.
MR: ACL cautiously welcomes R18+ games decision
· July 22, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: July 22, 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has cautiously welcomed the outcome today of the long-running R18+ computer game debate from the meeting of classification ministers in Adelaide.
“ACL was surprised that the issue was not deferred until the Australian Law Reform Commission completes its review of the National Classification Scheme, which includes examining the classification of games,” ACL’s spokesman Rob Ward said.
“ACL’s concern in this debate has always been to maintain the existing ceiling for games so that there is no possibility of a higher level of graphic violence and interactive sex legally available for sale and hire in Australia.
“The draft R18+ guidelines as originally proposed would have matched the R18+ guidelines for films. This was clearly never in the interests of the community, with the boundaries of the R18+ film guidelines slowly eroded to allow extreme violence, actual sex and simulated paedophilia in films.
“Although ACL awaits the final detail from the meeting, it appears that the existing ceiling for games has been maintained with a commitment to move the more extreme MA15+ games into a newly-created R18+ rating.
“With some tightening of the MA15+ category, the retention of the existing RC category and no liberalisation of the existing games market, the outcome today is a significant improvement from what had been previously put to ministers for their approval,” Mr Ward said.
“Despite the R18+ ratings for games issue seemingly resolved, there was still a lot of work to do to ensure children really would be protected from harmful games through effective enforcement mechanisms and by consistent application of the guidelines by classifiers.
“The assurance of ministers who backed the R18+ rating as a means to protect children needs to be matched by action to prevent children from accessing such games,” said Mr Ward.
“In this respect, ACL welcomes the agreement of ministers to ‘commence drafting amendments to their enforcement legislation to reflect the introduction of an R18 + category for computer games’.
“Concerns remain that the classification system over time allows higher levels of content to be pushed down into lower ratings. There is still some work to be done in ensuring classifiers apply ratings in a consistent manner, with the interests of assisting parents in mind,” he said.
ACL noted that the ALRC was examining questions around consistency in classification across media platforms and that it may recommend further reform when it reports in January 2012.
MR: ACL calls on classification ministers to delay R18+ games decision
· July 21, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: July 21, 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby has urged classification ministers meeting in Adelaide tomorrow to delay a decision on allowing more violent and sexually explicit games onto the Australian market until after the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has completed its inquiry into the classification system.
“With the first comprehensive review of the National Classification Scheme in 20 years already well underway, it is appropriate that ministers wait until after the independent ALRC review process had run its course,” said ACL’s spokesman Rob Ward.
“There is widespread public concern that the existing classification scheme is broken. Ministers should not feel pressured to pre-empt the genuine opportunity for comprehensive reform across all media platforms that the ALRC’s review offers, and should not take a piecemeal approach at tomorrow’s SCAG meeting.”
ACL was concerned that a Commonwealth proposal to apply the same guidelines for R18+ films to computer games would be a backward step not in the best interests of children.
“These guidelines have given us films with extreme violence, actual sex and simulated paedophilia. This is clearly content that no parent would want to see in an interactive computer game platform,” Mr Ward said.
With the Commonwealth having commissioned the ALRC to overhaul the classification system, including the classification of games, it was unclear why the Commonwealth was pushing for a decision tomorrow, six months before the ALRC is due to report.
ACL reaffirmed its position that liberalising the classification system for games with an R18+ rating as proposed would not be in the interests of children.
“Although in theory re-badging some MA15+ games as R18+ would place them in a category of restricted sale, until there is an effective enforcement system and a suite of deterrents in place, parents can have little confidence their children will actually be prevented from accessing such games, as routinely occurs in other countries with an R18+ equivalent rating,” Mr Ward said.
“The ALRC now has the unprecedented chance to devise a workable, consistent and adaptable classification scheme for the contemporary media environment that empowers parents to make informed choices for their children across all media platforms, and that protects children from harm.
“Until such a system exists, there should be no moves to liberalise the existing classification system with the potential release of even higher levels of graphic violence and interactive sex,” he said.
MR: ACL urges restraint on games classification until review of entire system complete
· July 18, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: July 18, 2011
The Australian Christian Lobby has urged classification ministers meeting in Adelaide this week to wait until the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) completes its comprehensive review of the National Classification Scheme before moving on video game classification reform.
ACL spokesman Rob Ward said today’s news about South Australian Attorney-General John Rau wanting to re-badge existing MA15+ games as R18+ had some merit but going it alone would create inconsistencies across jurisdictions that would further complicate an already failed system.
“Mr Rau’s suggestion wouldn’t address or fix the problems inherent in the existing classification system, such as subjective and ill-defined guidelines,” he said.
“The system also requires proper enforcement mechanisms and consequences for publishers and retailers who breach the guidelines.
“There needs to be a broad approach to the issue of gaming classification and the overall classification system, and ACL sees the ALRC’s review as the best way to bring some much needed change to the system,” he said.
ACL in particular asks ministers to reject the proposal of Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor to use the current R18+ guidelines for films as the basis for rating games because it does not take account of the differences between these types of media and the way they are consumed.
“You can’t equate an R18+ game with an R18+ film because games are interactive and repetitively engage the gamer in acts of violence and sex,” Mr Ward said.
“Allow the Australian Law Reform Commission to complete its comprehensive review and detail how games should be classified and whether they should be introduced into the Australian market.
R18+ computer game guidelines fly in the face of community concern
· May 26, 2011 10:00 AM
ACL’s Chief-of-Staff Lyle Shelton has today addressed some of the concerns with the
new draft video games classification guidelines
, released by Home Minister Brendan O’Connor this week.
In a piece published by Online Opinion, he called for the Gillard Government to stand up against a gaming industry motivated by profits:
The Gillard Government is doing a great job standing up to the interest of ‘Big Tobacco’ in the fight for plain packaging and against powerful poker machine interests in the quest for gambling reform.
It should take a similar stand on behalf of children and parents against the lucrative computer game industry.
He said that “O’Conner’s guidelines are out of step with community concern on classification and he should at least wait until the ALRC hands down its recommendations for fixing the system”.
Read Lyle’s full article
MR: Draft R18+ computer game guidelines fail families
· May 25, 2011 10:00 AM
For release: Wednesday May 25, 2011
The draft Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games are contrary to the interests of parents and their children, the Australian Christian Lobby has said.
The draft guidelines, released by the Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor today, would allow almost precisely the same guidelines for R18+ films to apply to computer games, allowing games with a ‘high’ impact to be legal in Australia for the first time.
“Not only is this proposal contrary to the claim that the introduction of an R18+ category for computer games would protect children by merely relocating existing MA15+ games to a new R18+ category, it would inevitably open the Australian hire and sale markets to a higher level of graphically violent and sexually explicit interactive games,” ACL’s chief of staff Lyle Shelton said.
“For the very first time, computer games with sexual activity that may be ‘realistically simulated’, and games with ‘virtually’ no restrictions on language and the treatment of themes such as racism and suicide, would be legal in Australia according to the draft guidelines.
“Allowing the almost exact same guidelines that caused the film ‘Salo’ to be legally available for sale in Australia under the R18+ category to also apply to computer games is especially troubling given the Director of the Classification Board, Mr Donald McDonald, justified that decision in Senate estimates hearings by saying that ‘
Simulated paedophilia could be acceptable in the context of a particular film
“The even remote possibility of such content becoming legal in interactive form is truly frightening.”
Mr Shelton questioned how allowing games with higher impact to be legally available in Australia would ‘provide safeguards to restrict the availability of material that is unsuitable for children’ or remove ‘unsuitable material from children and teenagers’,
“Research shows that American children regularly play ‘adult games’, despite the official rating.
“There is little to suggest Australian children would not also be able to access such games regardless of their rating, thereby contradicting the suggestion that welfare of children was the key motivator for liberalising the classification of computer games.”
Even gaming interests were now honestly re-evaluating the veracity of supposed benefits to children of an R18+ rating:
“Of course, protecting children is a main concern for us. But he [WA MP Nick Goiran] does have a small point. Somewhere along the line,
we switched our main message from “Adults should be able to play what they want” to the
“Children will be better protected with this new rating.
“It’s time to stop pretending an R18+ rating for computer games is a child protection measure,” said Mr Shelton.
ACL welcomes refusal of R18+ classification for games
· December 10, 2010 11:00 AM
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the decision of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General not to provide an R18+ Classification for games.
Mr Wallace was one of the panellists at the Standing Committee of Attorney Generals today. The meeting included seeing a series of clips of examples of both film and game classifications.
“It was very clear to me that the great majority of AGs were in a state of bemusement that anyone could want to make or play many of these games and particularly those proposed for an R18+ rating,” Mr Wallace said.
“It is clear that the meeting failed to get support for the R18 classification as a result.
“The claims that the MA15+ rating for games contains a number of games that should be classified higher is simply admission of a failed system,” Mr Wallace said.
“The Australian Christian Lobby has called for a comprehensive review across all technologies and mediums including advertising and entertainment, for some time and particularly of the political parties during the last election.
“With the convergence of technologies and mediums we can no longer penny pick our solutions, as it seems they might be proposing to do in the future with a look at games only.
“Any classification system must be practical and enforceable across all the whole range of technologies and mediums of advertising and entertainment. To do anything less will be a waste of time,” Mr Wallace said.
Violent video game debate far from over
· December 02, 2010 11:00 AM
Classification Ministers from across Australia will converge on Canberra next Friday, 10 December to discuss, and perhaps make a final decision on, whether to allow an R18+ classification rating for video games.
Reading today’s press, it would seem the chickens have already hatched, with gaming interests now claiming that “a decision [is]
expected to allow the sale of R18+ games
This follows the release yesterday of a
report from the Attorney-General’s Department
which claims that research examining the link between violent video games and aggressive behaviour is inconclusive.
In launching the report, Minister for Home Affairs
Brendan O’Connor said
, “This review shows that there’s little evidence to support any claim of a strong link, though there is some evidence of short term effects on gamers”.
The conclusions of the Department’s report appear to hinge entirely on the weighting of evidence presented by various academics, with the research of games supporter Dr Christopher Ferguson given particular prominence in contrast to Professor Craig Anderson and associates, who the report labels ‘causationists’.
This is despite prominent researcher L. Rowell Huesmann recently declaring closed the debate that exposure to video game violence increases the risk of aggression on the basis of an extensive
2010 study by Prof Anderson
, which Dr Ferguson subsequently rejected.
Dr Ferguson’s critique
of Prof Anderson’s research,
the public’s perception that the issue is undecided continues because “people are concerned that the implications of the research threaten freedom of expression, and because many people have their identities or self-interests closely tied to violent video games”.
Prof Anderson also responded
ACL’s Chief of Staff
Lyle Shelton has told reporters
that yesterday’s report “does show there's definitely, certainly, short-term evidence and they’re not dismissing the long-term effects". He also said that saying the research was inconclusive was at odds with community concerns about violence.
Certainly, the academic debate on the effects of video game violence will continue to rage, meaning the decision of Classification Ministers on whether to allow an R18+ rating for games is more likely to reflect personal philosophies than the available ‘conflicting’ research evidence.
This is why it is important to continue registering your concerns with Classification Ministers about the increased availability of interactive gaming violence should an R18+ rating for games be allowed. This can be done through our ‘
R18+ no game
’ campaign at
Violent video game decision imminent
· November 18, 2010 11:00 AM
The long-running debate over whether to allow for legal sale and hire in Australia video games with higher impact content of a violent and/or sexual nature is set to reach a conclusion soon.
The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is meeting in Canberra on December 10 to discuss whether to include in the National Classification Scheme (NCS) an R18+ rating for computer games.
Ever since the introduction of the NCS, governments have only allowed games up to the MA15+ rating on the basis that interactive games have a higher impact than similarly-rated films – an R18+ game was considered to have a higher impact than an R18+ movie.
Pressure from gaming interests, however, has caused a re-think of the classification regime for games, with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department conducting a consultation on behalf of classification ministers.
Those ministers are set to discuss the findings of the consultation, and perhaps make a final decision on whether to include an R18+ classification rating for games, at their December meeting.
R18+ no game
' is ACL’s campaign against the introduction of the R18+ rating for games. The site spells out in detail our objections to allowing more violent games into the Australian market, and invariably into the hands of children via older siblings or friends.
If you’re concerned about the proliferation of graphically violent and sexually explicit media content, please use the recently updated 'R18+ no game' campaign site to send a short email to your State or Territory Attorney-General asking him or her to reject the R18+ rating for games.
The next few weeks will no doubt be critical in seeing a positive outcome to this debate. A great article dispelling some of the misinformation about R18+ games was written by Professor of Law Elizabeth Handsley. Well worth a read, the article can be found
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