Swiss Violent Videogame Resolutions Move Forward

The topic of violent and adult-rated games has once again bubbled up in Switzerland.

MCVUK and TechEye both report on a resolution that passed unanimously in the Commission for Legal Affairs and would make it illegal to sell games rated PEGI 16 or 18 to under-age minors. Swiss parliament will now have a chance to vote on the measure, which was originally introduced by Christian Democratic Party member and National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener in 2007.

TechEye writes that Hochreutener believes the law is needed to “enforce ratings and make sure kids cannot play what are called ‘killer games’ in the German-speaking part of Europe.”

A second, and more troubling motion, would call for a complete ban of violent and adult-themed videogames within the country. This motion passed too, though with a closer vote of nine to three, and will also head off to parliament for vote. One of the backers of this proposal is Social Democrat Evi Allemann (pictured).

Allemann’s website offers some of her thoughts (translated) on the banning of such “killer” games:

Such games do not make each one a killer, but they increase the willingness of those who are already vulnerable. A blanket ban on such games therefore seems appropriate and proportionate, especially since they do not have any worth protecting cultural and social content and there are thousands of other exciting games that work without such extreme violence.

One way to implement the motion lies in the operationalization of Article 135 of the Criminal Code. This prohibits the display, manufacture, importation, storage, promotion, etc. of sound and visual recordings of cruel violence.

Another country to keep an eye on in the future.

Edit: Fixed the link for the translated section of Alleman’s website.

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16 comments

  1. 0
    Aquilian says:

    At this point there is no possibility to challenge this.

    What actually happened is that a sub-committee of the Council of States (one of two chambers of the Swiss parliament) has recommended to submit a motion regarding the ban of violent video games to the Federal Council (the Executive here in Switzerland). The Council of States itself however has yet to decide about submitting the motion.

    If both chambers of the parliament agree to submit the motion, the Federal Council has to prepare and present a draft of a bill to ban violent video games to the parliament. And this alone does not guarantee that said draft would survive the subsequent debate in either of the parliament’s chambers, let alone the vote on ratification.

    And even IF a bill was passed, Swiss citizens could demand a popular vote (referendum) on said bill.

    Regarding the views of Swiss citizens: There is a general understanding that the protection of minors demands at least some restrictions on the sale of violent video games. Some – mostly elderly and/or ignorant – politicians however aggressively advocate a complete ban of violent video games within Switzerland. They usually argue that the consumption of violent video games is the cause for violent behavior in general. The recommendation of the Council of State’s legal committee does not come as a surprise. I am quite convinced that they only know about video games from hearsay.

  2. 0
    Father Time says:

    "A blanket ban on such games therefore seems appropriate"

    You just admitted they don’t effect everyone who plays them and yet somehow it’s OK to ban them from everyone?

    With all due respect Miss, were you dropped on your head when you were an infant?

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  3. 0
    Avalongod says:

    Does Switzerland have an equivalent to the Supreme Court where this could be challenged?  I know that European laws on censorship are not the same as in the US though, often allowing for at least some censorship. 

    Does this really represent the views of Swiss citizenry I wonder?

  4. 0
    Bigman-K says:

    Thank God we have a First Amendment in the United States were the Nanny-State has no business and can’t decide for anybody whether they are minors or adults what they can or can’t watch, play, read and listen to. (eg. with the exception of obscenity although i believe it’s those laws are rediculous and it’s excemption from Free Speech has no basis whatsoever in the Constitution)

    Free Speech means Free Speech. If you find something inappropriate, unsuitable or offensive, you can choose not to watch, play, read or listen to it and it’s your sole responsibilty as a parent to make sure your children can or can’t have it whether it’s GTA games, Harry Potter or The Holy Bible and Koran. Leave the State out of it. Period.

      "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  5. 0
    Yammo says:

    How about banning Religion?

    I think that may push many people "over the edge"… So for the best of all, lets ban Religion too.

    This sounds like SS ideology to me…
    Control what every person does, or send them to prison/camp.

  6. 0
    tetracycloide says:

    The problem with that sentiment is that it begs the question.  Who gets to decide what does or does not contribute culturally or socially enough to warrant protection from censorship?  There’s a tacit assumption being made that no games will ever contribute enough without any evidence or reasoning to back up that assumption.

  7. 0
    Mycroft Holmes says:


    Congratulations!  Welcome to government sponsored censorship!  Good idea making those PEGI raters defacto government workers with the power to refuse citizens the right to view games they feel are too objectionable.

    Step in the right direction!

    …towards a nanny state.

  8. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Gotta love the circular reasoning behind this woman’s statement that something must have "cultural and social content worth protecting" in order to be worthy of protection. And what about the notion that non-violent games are proper substitutes for violent ones? I guess she thinks that games are fungible, like dollar bills?

    PS – Can we please stop acting as if PEGI / ESRB ratings somehow represent an objective measure of appropriateness rather than the rating body’s own subjective opinion of what’s appropriate for certain groups of players?

  9. 0
    Magic says:

    Such games do not make each one a killer, but they increase the willingness of those who are already vulnerable. A blanket ban on such games therefore seems appropriate and proportionate, especially since they do not have any worth protecting cultural and social content and there are thousands of other exciting games that work without such extreme violence.

    One way to implement the motion lies in the operationalization of Article 135 of the Criminal Code. This prohibits the display, manufacture, importation, storage, promotion, etc. of sound and visual recordings of cruel violence.

    Please do the same for movies or not at all. And all other media that depicts violence, come to think of it.

    Additionally, why are several countries all doing similar action to this at the moment? Is it a mild ‘domino effect’? Have games reached the threshold where all politicians are aware of them? Is it moral panic?

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