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Computer Games - Interactive Movies - Players - Stakeholders
Local Censorship - Overseas Censorship - Developer Responses - Accusations

Who has a stake in the computer games censorship debate in Australia?

- Supporters of the retention of the current computer games censorship system

Throughout the debate, the following groups have been instrumental in supporting Government positions on the computer games classification issue:

* Conservative politicians.  Elected representatives in this category can be found on both sides of Australian politics - in the Federal and State parliaments.  Computer games regulation is a topic that engages almost every politician towards a conservative viewpoint.  Exceptionally prominent figures include Senators Margaret Reynolds (Labor) and John Tierney (Liberal). 

* Religious groups.  Typically, these Christian groups view electronic media, especially its newer varieties, as promoting irreligious ideals and a general lowering of moral standards in the community, especially among children.  Specific examples of such organizations include the Catholic Women's League and the Festival of Light.  Apparently, no non-Christian religious group has taken a public position on computer games classification issues.  This category occasionally also includes some members of groups that promote largely secular philosophies such as feminism as devoutly as the holders of traditional religious beliefs (see Dietz, 1998 in particular).

* Young Media Australia (YMA).  This strong activist group promotes the protection of children from media influences that may cause them any form of distress, harm, or confusion.  They frequently make submissions to relevant Government inquiries and usually make a highly favourable, positive impression on the usually sympathetic politicians.  Their influence has traditionally been considerable, as their head, Barbara Biggins, was also the head of the OFLC's Classification Review Board for many years.  YMA members continue to fully support the recommendations of the Senate Committee in 1993, dismissing the plentiful evidence to support the opposite position that has arisen since that date (such as from the OFLC's own research).  No other non-government supporter of the status quo comes close to attaining the influence of Young Media Australia.

All three major groups in this category have in common a desire to do what they think is right to protect children from new technologies that they believe threaten their well-being.

- Supporters of the relaxation/revision of the current computer games censorship system

Their opponents take a conflicting view and argue for a broader and more tolerant computer games classification regime that reflects the actual demographics and other realities of the nature and use of this entertainment medium:

* Computer games magazines.  The two most prominent Australian computer games magazines, Hyper and PC PowerPlay, have long argued for a fairer computer games classification system.  This category often includes these magazines' close allies, Australian computer games distributors (see Emails and Memo in Unpublished Resources).

* Internet free speech advocates.  These include Electronic Frontiers Australia and some of its most prominent members such as Irene Graham.  At their Web pages, they promote a fairer computer games classification system as part of their larger aims to support and expand online freedoms.

* OFLC.  It may at first seem ironic that one Government agency is opposed to its peers, but it is a fact that most of these people, through their classification work on several thousand products, have much more actual practical experience in studying electronic entertainment, including computer games, than anyone else in this country.  They assert that many adults play computer games, that they can protect their children adequately without excessive Government intervention, and that there is no evidence that computer games need to be regulated more harshly than films.

In this category, all three major groups base their arguments on scientific evidence that refutes the positions of their opponents.  Additionally, the first two groups hold the ideals of freedom of speech in particularly high regard to the extent of advocating the loosening of classification restrictions. 

For information regarding some of the specific details of the opinions held by some of these groups, please refer to the Accusations page.

© Anthony Larme 2002
Comments and questions are most welcome