Channel 5 and the Wright Stuff respond to Gamers’ Voice letter of complaint

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 10 May 2011 19:32 GMT

Back in April, Gamers’ Voice sent a letter to Channel 5 over an episode of The Wright Stuff program after it linked a London gang-related shooting with violent videogames, before showing footage of Modern Warfare 2’s No Russian level.

According to Gamers’ Voice, Channel 5 has responded to its official letter, stating it was “grateful for the opportunity to respond” with Caroline Davies, editor of the Wright Stuff and author of the response, standing behind the show and claiming it was a fair and reasonable airing.

“We always make every effort to ensure that discussions on controversial subjects are fair and balanced, and I am happy that we did so on this occasion,” said Davies in the statement. “We are, however, an open access current affairs discussion programme and are strongly committed to fostering robust debate and the expression of strongly held opinions. We are the only such programme on British television.

“We always aim for balance but what we will never do is suppress the expression of legitimate and reasonable opinions simply because we disagree with them.”

Gamers’ Voice said it never claimed it its letter to the program that opinions such as Anne Diamond’s should be “suppressed or censored because we disagree with them,” but that that particular show “favoured uninformed statements and sensationalist representation over a balanced look at the issue.”

“One of the main concerns raised in our letter was the impression that the Wright Stuff blamed video games for the increase in violent crime. More specifically a recent shooting in a pizza parlour in South London, by 22-year old Leon Dunkley, and the lack of emotion he expressed as he carried out the atrocity,” ,” said the group’s founder,Tom Watson.

“The perpetrators had joked about ‘how she fell’ and many commentators had drawn the obvious parallel with victims of shootings as depicted in game graphics.”

Watson said that Davies made “no comment on the dismissal of research,” but did say that show host Matthew Wright “felt they were not the cause. So far as the research is concerned, he repeatedly stressed that this is inconclusive.”

“We are pleased that our letter to Channel 5 has prompted them to perform a review of their broadcast of the Wright Stuff on April 14,” added Gamers’ Voice chairman, Paul Gibson. “Channel 5 maintains that their coverage was fair and neutral despite the uproar in the gaming community and actions taken by ourselves and CVG.

“Furthermore, whilst their response puts great emphasis on the experience and ‘credibility’ of the panellists by claiming that they are “intelligent and reasonable people” they do not in any way refer to the inflammatory and quite frankly insulting remarks made regarding gamers in general.

“Our complaint to OFCOM remains a live issue however, and we look forward to the results of that complaint in due course. Overall we are pleased that Channel 5 have taken our complaint seriously and have performed this review. Even though they do not acknowledge any wrongdoing, we hope that our action will cause the broadcasters and the presenters to carefully consider their statements and subject matter in the future.”

Gamer’s Voice is still awaiting response from Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for UK communications, over the fact that the show aired a 18-rated game clip during the the hours of 10.30am UK time.

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