Three Oscar nominees for best film – “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “The Departed,” and “Babel” – depict a new level of relentless, highly realistic violence, says the Christian Science Monitor. Federal and some state officials are looking to regulate the escalating level of violence in film, TV, video games, song lyrics, and Web-based entertainment. Many veterans of the struggle are concluding that regulation is not the answer. “Those who create and sell violent media – and the elected officials, regular citizens, or parents who have a concern that this media is creating a more violent society or contributing to the degradation of our culture – need to come together,” says Indianapolis’s mayor, Bart Peterson. As president of the National League of Cities, he has adopted the issue of media violence as the theme of his year in office.
A measure to criminalize the selling of adult- or mature-rated video games to minors is being considered in the Indiana Senate. Last week, citing growing pressure from the public, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a draft report suggesting that it was time to regulate violence over the airwaves in much the same way it does with sex and profanity. In January, the Motion Picture Association of America unveiled proposals to strengthen the voluntary ratings system used to tell audiences about the content of movies. Peterson doubts regulation can work. In 1999, his city banned sales of adult and mature video games to those under 18, but courts ruled the ban unconstitutional.