Petition for a public apology from The Alan Titchmarsh Show and Julie Peasgood.
We, the undersigned, call on The Alan Titchmarsh Show to issue a public apology for their unfair and biased representation of the computer gaming industry on 18/3/10. We also call on Julie Peasgood to issue a public apology for hypocritically criticising an industry to which she has contributed.
The debate can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryH2WemACIM
A subsequent interview with Tim Ingham, editor of CVG, can be found here: http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2010/03/the_magic_resolution_is_a.php
Our grievance with the programme falls into three parts: Breach of the Ofcom code by The Alan Titchmarsh Show, perpetuation of common misconceptions about video games, and Julie Peasgood.
Breach of the Ofcom code
We feel that The Alan Titchmarsh Show has breached the Ofcom broadcasting code several times during the course of this programme. Specifically:
* In the above article, Tim Ingham recounts how the audience was encouraged before recording began to specifically boo himwhen they disagreed with him. No such recommendation was made regarding the other guests. This is a clear violation of article 7.2 of the Ofcom code, which requires that all contributors be treated fairly and equally.
* In the same article, Ingham states that Kelvin MacKenzie's positive responses to his points were largely edited out to make him seem more skeptical. This violates articles 5.7 and 7.6 of the Ofcom code, which require that views not be misrepresented and that editing reflect the contributions made.
* Julie Peasgood cited a piece of research but failed to name it. This violates article 7.9 which states that material facts must be presented in a fair way. By failing to identify the study, Peasgood offered no chance of rebuttal.
* Peasgood's personal involvement in the subject matter was never made fully clear to the audience, in violation of article 5.8. Her personal involvement is outlined below.
Perpetuation of misconceptions
We feel that very little research was undertaken by The Alan Titchmarsh Show before this discussion took place. Alan Titchmarsh did not know the names of the games and clearly did not understand that video games are classified and age-restricted in exactly the same way as films. This show perpetuates the misconception that all video games are aimed at children. Threel of the four games named by Titchmarsh (Left 4 Dead 2, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2) are age-restricted and can only be purchased by adults aged 18 or over. If the adults then choose to give the games to children and allow them to play, it is not the fault of the gaming industry, but of the adult themselves.
Whether or not these games corrupt children's minds is both unproven and irrelevant. Children should not be playing these games in the first place, and the person that allows them to do so is responsible, just as they would be responsible for showing a child an 18-rated film.
This point was never adequately addressed, and when Tim Ingham tried to raise them he was cut off.
Julie Peasgood provided voice acting for the character of Harroway for the PC and PlayStation survival horror game Martian Gothic: Unification, released in 2000. This game carries the ESRB rating Mature (17+), and contains several scenes of graphic violence.
Yet Peasgood makes no mention of this during the show. Instead she makes categorical statements such as:
* "Video games are addictive, they promote hatred, racism, sexism, and they reward violence. What kind of a message is that?"
* "I am categorically against violence for entertainment. It is just wrong."
To make such accusations while at the same time profiting from the industry you are criticising is a sickening display of hypocrisy.
Additionally, when referring to the Iowa State University study, Peasgood asserts that increased levels of depression and low self-esteem was linked to playing violent video games. However, there is no mention of either of these conclusions in the study's publicity by Iowa State University. It seems clear that Peasgood is adding her own conclusions to make her point seem more valid than it is.
In conclusion, we the undersigned seek a public apology from The Alan Titchmarsh Show for its breach of Ofcom guidelines and its perpetuation of misconceptions about video games, and from Julie Peasgood for her hypocritical statements and exaggerated claims.
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