Palau Bill Introduced To Ban Sexual, Violent Video Games, Films

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‘Protection of Minors Act’ criticized for going too far, invading privacy

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, May 6, 2014) – Delegates Sebastian Marino, Gibson Kanai, and Lentcer Basilius have introduced a bill that would ban the sale or rental of sexually explicit or violent video games and films.

The "Protection of Minors Act", as the bill is officially known, was introduced by the three lawmakers at the House of Delegates on April 16, 2014.

The proposed law states that it shall be unlawful for a person to sell or rent a video game or film, to a minor under the age of 18 that depicts gross violence or sexually explicit activity unless such minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Sexually explicit activity is defined in the measure as actual or simulated sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal between two or more persons; bestiality; masturbation; sadistic or masochistic abuse; or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.

Gross violence, on the other hand, is defined as a "Graphic depiction of killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being, that: 1) A reasonable person, considering the material as a whole, would find appeals to deviant or morbid interest; 2) It is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors. 3) It causes the material, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

The propose law further provides that each retail establishment that sells video games or films that depicts gross violence or sexually explicit activity shall require employee assistance for a customer to access such video games.

It also says that each retail establishment that sells video games or films that depict gross violence or sexually explicit activity for sale to the public shall maintain such video games in a locked container or behind the pay counter where the public does not have access.

The authors of the measure point out that minors are often exposed to graphic heinous violence and sexual activity while watching DVDs they can readily purchase over the counter, or while playing video games.

They say that this exposure leads to increased feelings of aggression toward other people, and to sexual depravity.

Meanwhile, Del. Marhence Madrangchar said that he has reservations on the proposed law.

"The purpose of the bill is good. But I think it limits choices," the Ngarchelong Delegate said.

Madrangchar said the proposed law invades into the privacy of the home.

"It is not the government’s business to restrict access to such materials. It is the parents’ responsibility," he added.

Madrangchar said that he voted for the proposed law on first reading when it was first taken up by the House two weeks ago.

"I voted for it despite expressing my reservations on the House floor. I hope that the authors will act on my concerns and we will have an acceptable version when it comes for final voting," he said.

Island Times tried to contact Del. Marino for his comment, but a person at his house said that he was not yet home. Attempts to contact Delegates Kanai and Basilius were also unsuccessful.

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