We, the undersigned experts and scholars, want to express our concern about recent developments reflected in media about potential ban of various video games in Turkey.
The report of The Ministry of Family and Social Politics, known as “Minecraft Report” after media coverage, should be made public as a required sign of transparency. The scientific value and validity of this report on video games can only be understood and accepted only if it is opened to an academic discussion.
In the preparation process of these reports, the best approach will be to create academic, scientific, independent, accountable and civil structures that consist of the experts of the field. The problem of evaluation and prohibition of video games is not only a concern of video game industry or state institutions, but also scholars who study in the field of video game studies, experts, countless video game artists, professional video game players in the new field of electronic sports in our country and all video game players. In this respect, we demand that the video game report with the resources and scientific data used in preparation process being declared to the public immediately.
Up until today, video games was evaluated widely from educational and health sciences perspective. In various reports, in media and in scientific researches, video games appraised mostly from one-dimensional perspective which only aims reducing the impact on children.
The wide understanding, to see video games as violent, addictive products which supports asocial behaviors, is not only a short-coming as a sociological approach, but also wrong in terms of its conclusions. Video games cannot be handled as a kind of synthetic drug (like Bonzai, which is a serious problem in Turkey). From a few lines of report -those are the only public ones- it is clear that international game studies literature and contemporary researches are not followed and taken to consideration.
It is also neglecting main principles of law, to make necessary regulations with an already late as well as arbitrary reasoning, when only mainstream media attention rises and targeting specific games. The legitimacy of regulations will deteriorate as they get delayed and as specific games become targets arbitrarily.
Video games should be considered in freedom of expression. The limitations and pressure on game culture with censorship is unacceptable. “Least restrictive option” should be implemented for any regulations. The accessibility of online games are already restricted by some platforms with specific restrictions and it is also possible to take action with parental control applications.
Therefore, we demand that the video games report of The Ministry of Family and Social Politics being declared to the public, establishment of a scientific, open, transparent and independent structure to take an active role in regulations related to video games and make space for civil initiative formed with horizontal relationships.
Nuri Can Aksoy
Aslı Telli Aydemir
Işık Barış Fidaner
Emek Barış Kepenek
Özge Baydaş Sayılgan
Gülin Terek Ünal