In the aftermath of last month's horrific school shooting rampage in Winnenden, criticism of violent video games by German government officials has been on the rise.
In the latest political attack, Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann (left), a frequent critic of violent games, upped the ante by likening such games to illegal drugs and child pornography.
Herrmann made the charge in a Tuesday press release (Google translation) which was issued to coincide with the government-sponsored German Games Award as well as a video game conference in Munich.
German GamePolitics reader David Ziegler provides this translation:
The statement contains the usual accusations that "such games are one of the causes for youth violence and also for school shootings, where images from killer games become reality",and that "more and more children are getting mired in this virtual world of violence", so that "they have no time left for school or job training, and are lost to our society".
However, this time, he's taking it a bit further. The last sentence states: "In regards to their harmful effects, [violent video games] are on the same level as child pornography and illegal drugs, the ban on which rightly is unquestioned"
However, a second German official, Commissioner for the New Media Thomas Jarzombek, criticized Herrmann's remarks:
The comparison is completely inappropriate... anyone making such statements is unqualified to participate in any further debate [regarding the] protection of minors from harmful media.
GamePolitics reader tibuka, also German, adds:
[Herrmann's] statement was released on the same day as the first German Videogame Awards ceremony took place in Munich. In return, all important German game-associations (G.A.M.E., BIU, ESB) released statments of their own, demanding an apology.