With the increased variety of media available in the information age, many prominent politicians and commentators have raised concerns about the prevalence of media violence. It might seem odd anyone would make an argument in favour of media violence, but a number of commentators believe efforts to control media violence are misguided. Their arguments generally fit into one of two categories: positive arguments that assert a right or demand for media violence, and negative arguments that assert efforts to control media violence are either unnecessary or ineffective.
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Freedom of Speech
The core of most arguments for media violence are based on the concept of free speech. Free speech is the principle that all human beings, regardless of their motives or intentions, have the right to say what they want and express what they want. In addition to actual conversation and written arguments, this freedom is usually extended to include all artistic media -- including film, television, music and video games. Proponents of this argument generally acknowledge the good intentions of attempts to reduce media violence but are concerned these attempts might constrain the right to free speech.
Market Demand for Entertainment
Other arguments for media violence are economic. Some political and media commentators believe that media violence exists because people are entertained by it. They argue that content producers are generally incentivised by a profit motive, and must produce the kinds of media content that they expect people will pay to play, watch or listen to. Proponents of this argument often disregard the potential social ills of media violence or suggest that the market demand for violent entertainment makes its presence inevitable.
Lack of Connection with Real-World Violence
Those opposed to media violence often base their arguments on the premise that the proliferation of media violence is somehow connected with the proliferation of real-world violence. They argue that controlling media violence is essential to prevent violence in our daily lives. Because of this, arguments for media violence often attack this connection. Proponents of these arguments suggest there is no conclusive scientific evidence that connects media violence with real violence, and in some cases, media violence might actively discourage real-world violence. Some of those making this argument might not necessarily support media violence.
Controlling Media Violence is Ineffective
Arguments for media violence are sometimes based on the premise that controlling media violence is not an effective method to reduce real violence. This argument, like arguments critical of the media/real-world violence connection, is not necessarily in favour of all forms of media violence. Proponents of this argument believe there are more effective ways to reduce violence in the real world -- such as controlling poverty or other contributors to crime. Proponents believe attempts to reduce media violence are a waste of time and that resources would be better spent reducing real-world violence or developing alternatives to media violence.
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- Media Awareness Network: Is Media Violence Free Speech?; George Gerbner and Todd Gitlin; 1997
- Media Know All: Censorship of Violence in the Media; 2010
- Homo Ecumenicus: Media Violence; Nikolaos Ioannidis; 2000
- Wired Magazine: Why Rockstar Games Rule; Logan Hill; 2002
- Free Expression Policy Project: Fact Sheets-Media Violence; 2004
- American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression: The Media Violence Myth; Richard Rhodes; 2000