The sense of censorship

I’ve just returned from some very interesting conversations, held on a beach on the Isle of Wight.
Despite the sandy taste of the lager, games journalists (among other things) David McCarthy and Kieron Gillen had a particularly interesting chat regarding censorship.
Originally focussing on the banning of the game Manhunt 2 by the BBFC, it also covered censorship of film, comics, and any entertainment media.

On one hand, I’m a big believer in the freedom of speech, and will happily sign up to defend anyone’s right to talk complete cobblers. At the same time, I’m regularly disapointed in the fact that a lot of people will believe the cobblers.

The optimist in me wants to point out that if there is film, text or a mixture which offends you, you can avoid enountering it. There are enough programmes to allow you to filter the internet, for example, with varying degrees of success.

At the same time, if someone does suggest something like a Blogging Code of Conduct, it’s entirely optional whether or not you sign up to it or not.

Sadly too many people seem to be unable to work out for themselves that they probably should watch disturbing films like A Clockwork Orange, or Assault on Precint 13, and avoid the latest horror franchise to follow this year’s trend for more and more gory fun.

This is one of the few posts I make, where I don’t already have a slightly patronising solution in mind… But I do think it’s an issue which will become ever more important. After all, if your new site is based on users supplying content, where do you draw the line on that content? Do you adopt the most lax legal approach of only ever reacting if there’s a complaint? Do you decide to let everything go, just to make a point, no matter how abhorrent? Or do you make a huge commitment to try and avoid anything offensive?

So far games seem to have got away with a relatively lax approach. Film seems to react only when there is something which can’t be defended as art. Meanwhile U.S comic firms voluntarily formed the Comics Code Authority in 1954. All three are capable of incredibly beauty and emotion. So which one was the right way to go?