EU to study ways to keep violent video games from
Associated Press, 1/16/07
DRESDEN, Germany (AP) - European justice and interior
ministers agreed Tuesday to look at ways to prevent the
sale of violent video games to children across Europe
amid worries that national controls are too lax.
EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini
told reporters at the end of two-day EU talks here that
he and German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and
Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries ``encouraged member
states to prevent, to ban violent video games.''
``The protection of children cannot have borders,''
Zypries, whose country holds the EU presidency, said
that before any EU-wide measures could be taken, an
inventory of what national measures were already in
place had to be conducted.
Most if not all EU governments have in place parental
advisory rules and voluntary agreements with games
makers and retailers to prevent the sale of violent or
other adult games to those under 16.
Frattini said that more needed to be done, however.
``What we can do is to raise awareness about the
sensitivity of the issue and also to increase and to
encourage ... measures to be taken in a practical way by
police authorities, particularly about checking the
identity of the minors,'' Frattini said.
Zypries said an inventory of national bans and ratings
already in place would be posted soon on an EU Web site
where consumers and parents can verify whether the games
are suitable for children.
Zypries added that Germany, on behalf of the EU, would
consult with other countries, including the United
States, Japan and Russia over better international
coordination. She said the games that posed the greatest
concern were made outside of Europe.
Luxembourg's Justice Minister Luc Frieden said the EU
had to take action on the issue, and to ensure that
minimum set of restrictions and standard ratings were in
operation across the borderless 27-nation bloc.
``Access to children should be cut off,'' Frieden said.
``We have to ban some games.''
EU officials have called for action amid a recent spate
of attacks by teenagers that authorities partially blame
on violent games.
Frattini called on EU ministers to urge Internet
companies, game makers and retailers to participate in
voluntary self-regulation. He said the EU would soon
hold a public debate with the gaming industry, software
writers and Internet providers to discuss the matter.
Germany and Britain already have tough restrictions to
prevent the sale of violent games to children, and
Germany penalizes retailers who sell adult-rated games
Frattini wants all 27 EU member nations to adopt uniform
labels with age restrictions and parental advisory
warnings. However, EU officials have said it would be
left to national authorities to decide on how tough the
measures should be and to set the ratings.
The call to act on violent games targeted at children is
being backed by Germany, which holds the EU presidency.
Britain, Greece, Finland, Spain and France also back
coordinated EU policy on the issue.
Frattini and German ministers are keen to take action
after an 18-year-old went on a rampage in a German high
school last November, shooting five people before
Authorities blamed his attack on the teen's love for
violent computer games.
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