The Video Standards Council is to hire an ‘execution panel’ of three psychology and legal experts, who will ultimately decide whether controversial video games should be banned, MCV can reveal.
The VSC is in the process of hiring a media lawyer, a clinical psychologist and a media psychologist for the Board.
Should the VSC decide that a game is in danger of contravening laws set out in the Video Recordings Act, it will submit the offending material to the panel, who will review whether the title should be banned.
The body hopes the measure will help to avoid the sort of successful appeals that have embarrassed the BBFC in the past – and keep unnecessary censorship to a minimum.
The Government announced in its Digital Britain report yesterday that PEGI would become the sole ratings system for UK video games – overseen and managed by the VSC.
VSC secretary general Laurie Hall told MCV today:
There is a clinical, legal decision for any game that is in danger of being banned for breaking the laws of the Video Recordings Act. These are almost always PEGI-18 games. It’s important to emphasise that this is a tiny, tiny proportion of all games released.
The BBFC has only made two attempts to ban games before – one in the mid-90s with Carmageddon, and one ore recently with Manhunt 2. But both were turned over on appeal.
If we ever come across a game that might fall foul of the Video Recordings Act, we’ll turn to this specialist advisory panel – which will be made up of a media lawyer, a clinical psychologist and a media psychologist. We think it’s a good proposal, and it will help avoid turnovers of our decisions coming on appeal.
Let’s be clear though – we now have the same powers at the BBFC had, and they’ve only attempted to ban games twice in 25 years. It’s very restricted legislation. We’re not going to be rushing around, madly banning everything we see.”