By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – A government review of censorship laws will consider strengthening statutes that deal with the content of computer games.
Justice Minister John O’Donoghue announced the review when he launched an industry initiative on rating games with symbols to advise parents about their suitability.
O’Donoghue said that under the provisions of the 1989 Video Recordings Act, computer games are generally exempt from classification and certification by the Government’s Film Censor.
The exceptions are where the games are likely to cause people to commit crimes, stir up hatred, deprave or corrupt people or if they depict acts of gross violence or cruelty to humans or animals.
"As a society, we must do our utmost to ensure that the experiences which our children receive, and learn from, are positive experiences," O’Donoghue said. "They should be protected from experiences or material which would only tend to corrupt their minds."
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He said the present system was self-regulating with distributors required to submit games to the Censor.
"However, I am conscious of the fact that censorship in Ireland is governed by a range of legislation, some of which has its origins in the 1920s," he said. "Even the most recent laws relating to videos have, to come extent, been overtaken by the rapid change in technology and requires to be reviewed."
The minister hopes to publish new proposals next year to deal with censorship reforms.
"I am totally committed to ensuring that issues relating to the protection of children are comprehensively addressed in the context of reform in this area," he said.