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article imageOp-Ed: Human Rights and Video Games?

By M Dee Dubroff     Apr 28, 2009 in Entertainment
The Council of Europe recently released a set of guidelines on the human rights of video-game players. What does this mean in terms of duties and responsibilities and will players still be able to have fun?
According to BoingBoing, The Council of Europe has called upon game-creators to design video game systems that encourage freedom of expression and creativity.
This is in response to the fact that many online games actually put up an "agreement" every time you play them in which you promise not to assert your right to either.
Providers, designers and publishers of online games by the very nature of the product they produce promote the freedom to express, create and exchange content and communications while respecting the rights of others.
Games can be a powerful learning tool and can inadvertently impact the rights and sensibilities of children. The fear is that “creativity” may increase the potential impact of such games on others.
Should there be rules governing how far one can go while having a good time? Is it enough to have an invisible line or should that line be drawn in ink? The Council of Europe (COE) says yes to ink, and has sincerely developed two sets of guidelines that seek to interpret human rights in an online context. They are as follows:
1.“ Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.”
2. “The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”
Has the Council of Europe gone too far or not enough? Freedom in all things implies the restraint of such when the rights of others are imperiled. Isn’t this so?
What do you think about this?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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