by Stephen Tall on August 25, 2009
Retailers who sell violent video games and 18-rated DVDs to children cannot be prosecuted because of a legal blunder 25 years ago. Dozens of prosecutions under a 1984 Act have been dropped because the government of the day failed to notify the European Commission about the law. But previous prosecutions will stand, according to the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).
Lib Dem shadow culture, media and sport secretary Don Foster was quick to react to the news:
The Conservative’s incompetence when they were in Government has made laws designed to prevent video piracy and protect children from harmful DVDs unenforceable and thrown film censorship into chaos. This must be a massive embarrassment to the Tories, especially as David Cameron was the special advisor to the Home Secretary in 1993 when the law was amended. Until the problems have been overcome we must hope that legitimate retailers will observe the spirit of the act to protect our children from violent and explicit DVDs and videogames.”
I can understand why Don has gone on the attack on this (though I can’t help feeling trying to pin some blame on David Cameron is just a little bit cheeky) – but, surely, this is an administrative error, and the blame must lie with those civil servants responsible for ensuring the laws are correctly processed?