While Venezuela has been the (unwilling) setting for at least one violent video game Mercenaries 2: World in Flames , lawmakers there are moving ahead with plans to ban violent games and toys.
The effort, reports Reuters, is aimed at
reducing an unprecedented wave of crime and violence. According to Reuters, dozens of people are murdered in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas every week.
A measure detailing the proposed ban passed Venezuela's National Assembly this week. In
order to become law, the game ban bill would need to be voted on a second time and then signed into law by President Hugo Chavez.
In a bid to curb rampant crime in San Augustin slums, Venezuela's National Assembly is on track to prohibit violent video games and toys. The proposed legislation, which received initial approval in September, is expected to get a final vote in the
Parents applaud the proposed ban. But critics argue the bill is little more than a public relations stunt by supporters of President Hugo Chavez to camouflage his government's inability to deal with Venezuela's rampant violent crime,
the country's most pressing problem according to public opinion polls.
Lawmaker Jose Albornoz concedes that fighting crime requires a multifaceted approach. But he's convinced that authorities can reduce the murder rate by breaking what he says is
a direct link between video games and crime, though most studies find no evidence that such games prompt violent behavior in youngsters.
Venezuela would be one of few countries to impose an all-out ban on the manufacture, importation,
distribution, sales and use of violent video games and bellicose toys. The proposed law would give Venezuela's consumer protection agency the discretion to define what products should be prohibited and impose fines as high as $128,000.
Venezuelan bill would also mandate crime prevention classes in public schools and force the media to implement permanent campaigns to warn against the dangers of violent games. Another provision requires the government to promote the
production, distribution, sales and use of games that teach kids respect for an adversary.
RiaNovosti reports that the Venezuelan government has now passed a law banning violent video games.
This new law extends as far as outlawing the import, production and sale of such video games, as wall as a similar ban on toy guns and strict
rules regarding TV adverts with a military nature aimed at children.
Gun crime in Venezuela is believed to be one of the primary causes of death among 16 to 20-year-olds, and while censorship on this scale is seen as distasteful on an
international stage, it's hard to blame the authorities for taking any measure possible to stem the flow of violence. It'll be interesting to see if a link between games and violence becomes evident in the results of the ban.
A law introduced last year that would ban violent videogames and toys in Venezuela has now been enacted.
Under the law, importers, producers, distributors or sellers of the banned toys and games could face fines and jail time ranging from two
to five years. In a story dated March 3, Prensa Latina reported that the law had been passed.
The law, when initially proposed to Venezuela's National Assembly, proposed that the country's consumer protection society be granted full power in
determining what games and toys were deemed violent, though no indication was given into what criteria might be used to judge the goods.
As it was drawn up, the law also featured provisions for teaching crime prevention classes in school, public
campaigns to warn about the dangers of videogames. A government campaign to promote games that taught children respect for an adversary was also included, though no word on if this, or any, additional provisions were a part of the new law.
The ban on violent games and toys is apparently seen as a way to somehow combat crime and violence in the country.