The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued a statement praising the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Monday that declared a California law restricting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors was an unconstitutional limit on freedom of speech.
"Time and again, from the early days of radio and television, to 10-cent comic books and now to video games, lawmakers have tried to limit speech for what they believe to be the public good. And each time, they have lost because the First Amendment will not tolerate such wholesale limitations on expression merely because someone has created a new mode of communication," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish.
"The majority decision ensures that violent content in any medium, including content produced by news outlets, will not come under the same censorship."
The Reporters Committee filed a "friend-of-the-court" amicus brief in support of the video gaming industry in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. The group argued that the state of California’s 2005 law prohibiting the sale or rental of a "violent video game" to a minor was unconstitutionally overbroad in its restriction of expression.
The brief also noted that a "broad restriction of expression is an inappropriate means of addressing an overstated problem." Pointing out that “protests against violent speech often come after it appears in new media or methods of communication, such as videogames, comic books, theater, film, and music,” the Reporters Committee noted that over time, “the protests inevitably die down, with the alleged harms never having come to pass.”
The American Society of News Editors, the First Amendment Project, the National Press Photographers Association, the Radio-Television Digital News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Student Press Law Center joined the Reporters Committee brief.
You can learn more about the group and its efforts at www.rcfp.org.