The village of Salawag, located in the Philippines, decided to ban Dota in the wake of recent murders where two teenagers were stabbed to death. The reason for the murders was reported to have stemmed from a dispute relating to the online game. While Dota may have fallen in popularity in the west in favor of more recent games such as Dota 2, or LoL, Dota still has wide popularity in many Asian countries because it can easily run on the older hardware that is common in poorer countries.
The village council defends their decision to ban the game claiming that the game was causing their children to become more violent and even causing them to commit murder. This is similar to the arguments made in the past in America, when moral authoritarians blamed school shootings on violent video games like Doom, despite a lack of supporting evidence. The council claims it is doing what is best to look out for the future of the village’s children.
Before making its decision to ban the game the council consulted with the owners of computer shops in the village. 29 out of 30 shop owners agreed with the ban on the grounds that they were unable to deal with the violent demeanor of teenage Dota players. Any shop owners who violates the ban by selling the game could face a one month suspension operations, or on a repeat offense they could lose their business permit.
While numerous parents and school administrators are very pleased with the ban, some commenters are less than happy. Many have pointed out that the ban will do nothing at all to address the real causes of violence, while others have raised concerns about their country becoming a global laughingstock for passing such a law. Although the ban only applies in one village, the council says they would endorse a city-wide ban, which would encompass a larger area. If that is successful they may gain momentum to push for a ban across the country, or to ban a larger number of games.
Do you think the village council made the right decision by banning Dota, or is this a blatant act of censorship? Leave your comments below.