UK game player advocacy group Gamers’ Voice has filed a formal complaint with Channel 5 over an episode of The Wright Stuff in which violent video games were the topic of discussion. During the show playing violent video games were linked to the shooting of Agnes Sina-Inakoju by Leon Dunkley and Mohammed Smoured. The two have already been convicted for the crime. The pair are members of the London Fields gang, who were responsible for a number of violent acts including the stabbing of 14 year old Shaquille Smith in 2009.
During the show, the host and panel members discussed whether violent games were a significant factor in the boys’ behavior. Anne Diamond, who is known for anti-video game rhetoric, was one of those panelists. The show also aired footage of 18-rated Modern Warfare 2’s infamous "No Russian" level.
Gamers’ Voice says that the context and discussion were poorly balanced and argued, and that airing "unsuitable material before the watershed" constitutes a violation of broadcast rules. The Modern Warfare 2 footage was shown at 10:30 am – a time slot when children are likely to be watching television.
Comments from the group are below:
"It’s nothing new that TV loves to sensationalise gamers and shooters," reads a statement on the group’s website.
"Instead of trying to learn and educate themselves as to why people commit horrific crimes, TV loves to target gaming. Gaming is easy to attack and it seems that it can conveniently ‘explain the increase violent behaviour’.
"In the episode of the ‘Wright Stuff’ that was aired on Channel 5 on Thursday 14th April, they discussed the alleged causal link between video games and violent behaviour. In particular, they focused on the detached way that 22-year-old Leon Dunkley drew a sub-machine gun and killed customers in a London pizza parlour.
"Instead of talking about possible the social, mental or economic problems that could have driven Dunkley to kill, the Wright stuff went straight to what must be the cause for the problem. It wasn’t gang culture which puts perceived respect above regard for human life, no, it’s first person shooters that are responsible.
"What was even more shocking was that during the introduction to the discussion, they showed scenes from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Specifically the infamous level ‘No Russian’ where the play can gun down unarmed civilians, if they so choose. So apparently at 10.30 in the morning during the school holidays, it’s fine to show scenes from an 18 rated game to set context of how it causes violence, which goes in some way the level ignorance of all involved in the programme on the subject being discussed."
Minor correction: BBC is not part of Channel 5.