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Monday, September 25, 2023

Staff Editorial

The cost of right to vote: right to free speech?

Tuesday was heavily occupied by voters scrambling to cast their ballots at the last minute, along with a field day for the media as election coverage had both broadcasters and viewers on their tip-toes. Little did anyone know, Tuesday was also the day the Supreme Court heard the case Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

While Democrats and Republicans were going head-to-head with one another yesterday, the governor of California was being butted by the EMA, an organization upset at what Gov. Schwarzenegger thinks about violent video games.

The state of California has officially made it the government’s job to say if minors can purchase video games — specifically, games it considers to be violent. And as violent video games are a medium for free speech — despite the repulsion many take it for — how the justices decide may just set a dangerous precedent for the future of our First Amendment rights.

It’s not as if minors were able to purchase violent video games previously, but their inability to purchase these games have always been a ruling of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, an industry-led regulatory organization. And they’ve done quite well, without any government oversight.

We’re not solely concerned with how California wants to veil their minors from digital renditions of blood and sex, though. Herein lies the issue: If the Supreme Court agrees that the Governator can withhold violent video games from minors, it would be presumable that the Court thinks the same of R-rated movies or music albums with explicit lyrics.

We don’t agree that minors should be capable of buying violent video games, we definitely don’t agree that the government should have a say in this. Censorship is no laughing matter, and it’s always something to take seriously. The game industry already has a governing body — why add another?

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