'Recall violent music and games'

By Natasha Prince

The Family Policy Institute has asked the government to put pressure on the industry to recall all music and video games with violent lyrics or content as it is concerned over its negative influence on the youth.

The institute's Errol Naidoo made the request in a letter to Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula following the murder of 16-year-old Jacques Pretorius at a Krugersdorp school, allegedly at the hands of a fellow pupil wielding a samurai sword.

Suspect Morne Harmse, 18, was said to have dressed up like Joey Jordison, the drummer for US metal band Slipknot.

Naidoo asked that Mapisa-Nqakula investigate the "harmful and negative effects" of all music on sale in the country that had "excessively violent and aggressive lyrics" and graphically violent computer games.

He also asked that the music and games be recalled "pending the outcome of the investigation".

Naidoo cited the case of two US teens who were convicted of murder in 2003 after stabbing a friend 20 times and slitting his throat after listening to Slipknot's song Disasterpiece.

He also cited the case of Bangkok teenager Polwat Chinno who had killed a taxi driver by punching and stabbing him after playing the computer game Grand Theft Auto. "Police believe he was acting out a scene in the violent video game," Naidoo said.

He said there was no guarantee that removing violent music and games would prevent violent behaviour, but that it would "provide added peace of mind for families".

But the Freedom of Expression Institute said the request would violate the rights of artists whose works would have to be pulled and did not address the real problem.

"The allegations that the conduct is inspired by lyrics, photographs, DVDs or any other media belie the truth that the person observing these should apply his or her mind to this in a reasonable and rational fashion," said Melissa Moore, head of the Freedom of Expression Institute's Law Clinic.

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