Activists Urge Apple to Remove App Store Games That Play Up Philippine Drugs War

by

A group of civil society organizations has demanded that Apple remove games from its App Store that promote violence and killings commonplace in the Philippines' war on drugs (via Reuters).

The games in question, which the group said violated Apple's own guidelines, include characters based on Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his national police chief, Ronaldo "Bato" dela Rosa, who engage criminals in gun battles and fistfights.

Tsip Bato by Ranida Games

"These games valorise and normalise the emerging tyranny of Duterte's presidency and his government's disregard for human rights principles," the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) said in an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The group named 131 organizations from several countries as supportive of the October 10 complaint to Apple, with groups working on human rights, youth and drug policy reform among them.

They urged the tech giant to issue an apology for hosting such "insensitive content". Apple has yet to respond to the letter.

Thousands have been killed in Duterte's war on drugs, a 15-month-long campaign that has caused international alarm. Human rights groups say state-sponsored executions are taking place, but authorities vehemently reject the claim.

Games available in the App Store that have come in for criticism include Fighting Crime 2, Duterte Knows Kung Fu, Duterte Running Man Challenge, Tsip Bato, and Duterte Vs Zombies. The civil rights groups said the games "might seem harmless and fun" but are offensive and distasteful because of the reality and prevalence of state-sanctioned murder with impunity.

Ben Joseph Banta, a managing partner of Ranida Games, which developed Tsip Bato, told Reuters in an email that the aim of its game was "not to promote violence", but that it sought to discourage drug use with the use of banner messages opposing drugs that were visible to players.

"We understand the human rights groups and we're very much open to make changes in the game in order to remove the stigma that the game is promoting violence," said Banta.

On Thursday, The Guardian reported that President Duterte had ordered police to end all operations in his war on drugs. In a televised speech he said he hoped a shift to target big networks would satisfy "bleeding hearts" and interfering western states fixated on the high death toll in his brutal crackdown.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
39 months ago
As much as I feel for what they are going through, we really shouldn’t be censoring what we can play and do here based on some other nation’s (often religiously rooted) morality laws. Otherwise we open the door to groups demanding female characters wear face covers, all characters be straight, no race mixing, or any number of things. Perhaps if a certain group doesn’t like the app they could just not play, similar to changing the channel. Outlawing satire though? No.
[doublepost=1507898542][/doublepost]

Video-games promote violence as much as Macbeth promotes homicide.
This hinges on the assumption that people can't tell the difference between reality and fiction.
It seems like these activists demonstrate the truth in that.

BTW, go through the bible and make a list of everyone who dies. Then look at who killed them and why.

I’d say religion is more dangerous than video games any day of the week, mainly because so many followers really can’t tell the difference between reality and fiction.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
People here are missing the point completely.

The group’s demand for Apple to remove this game has nothing to do with being a social justice warrior or religion.

The Philippine president’s “war on drugs” involves police who shoot and kill people suspected of trafficking drugs without due process of the court. Many innocent people have died in the crossfire. This group is simply asking for Apple to demonstrate some discretion and remove a game that is trivializing a serious and ongoing situation.

This would be like if a shooter game came out on the App Store where the player sets up on 32nd floor and points are gained for every person he shoots down in the city below. People would be raising hell if that were to happen. And calles for such a game to pulled from the App Store wouldn’t be so much about its violence but rather the sensitivity to an event in tries to portray.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

SJWs are very specifically against many of your examples.

You missed the point. Those people were also the "SJWs" of their day. It's a term thrown around to undermine anyone who thinks that what's happening is wrong. People use it against Rose McGowan because of her exposure of the Weinstein situation. They use it against people who were upset about police shooting videos and actually said something about it. They said it about gay people who wanted to get married. I think it's incredibly simplistic to say "SJWs are against X". It's really no better than saying all conservatives are racists, and all liberals are begging for free stuff. In all three examples, it's lazy.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Damn SJWs are the worst part of the human race, some I assume are good people (real activists).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Dang I was looking for a direct link for the apps. Guess I will have to search each one.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

Damn SJWs are the worst part of the human race, some I assume are good people (real activists).

Easy to say that, but people said the same about those who fought alongside MLK, Jefferson, Lincoln, Luther, and Jesus Christ.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 mini' and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

Tuesday September 29, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's iPhone 12 launch event will be held on October 13, with the more affordable 5.4 and 6.1-inch devices set to ship out ahead of the more expensive 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro devices, and this morning hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has further committed to that date by providing alleged details on Apple's first shipment of finalized iPhone 12 units. Prosser claims the...

Hands-On With iOS 14.2's New Shazam Music Recognition Toggle in Control Center

Monday September 28, 2020 2:35 pm PDT by
Shortly after launching iOS 14, Apple introduced an upcoming iOS 14.2 update, which is now available to developers and public beta testers ahead of a public release that could come at some point in October. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iOS 14.2 update mainly focuses on the Control Center, introducing a new Music Recognition toggle that deepens the Shazam...

iPhone 12 'Pro Max' Model to Sport Unique High-End Features

Wednesday September 30, 2020 2:01 am PDT by
The upcoming "iPhone 12 Pro Max" is anticipated to have a number of unique high-end features not found on any other iPhone, such as its screen size, LiDAR scanner, faster 5G, and potentially a higher display refresh rate. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is also expected to be the largest ever iPhone, with a 6.7-inch display. Previously, the largest iPhones have been 6.5-inches in the iPhone XS Max and ...

DigiTimes: 12.9-inch Mini-LED iPad Pro Arriving Early 2021, Mini-LED MacBook Coming Later

Tuesday September 29, 2020 4:18 am PDT by
Apple will launch a 12.9-inch mini LED-backlit iPad Pro in early 2021 and a mini LED-backlit MacBook in the second-half of next year, according to DigiTimes. The Taiwan-based industry publication claims Epistar will supply the over-10,000 mini LEDs used in each iPad Pro tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to recruit Osram Opto as another supplier of mini LEDs for use in a new "high-end"...

iOS 14.2 Suggests Apple Won't Include EarPods in the Box With iPhone 12

Tuesday September 29, 2020 2:19 pm PDT by
Rumors have suggested that Apple's iPhone 12 models will not include power adapters or EarPods in the box, and a minor code tweak in iOS 14.2 seemingly confirms Apple's plan to sell the new devices without EarPods. In iOS 14 and earlier versions of iOS, there's a mention of reducing exposure to RF energy by using the "supplied headphones," which is the same wording that Apple has used for...

iPhone 12 Production Lines at Foxconn's Zhengzhou Factory in China Running '24 Hours a Day'

Tuesday September 29, 2020 3:38 am PDT by
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn is running its massive Zhengzhou factory in China 24 hours a day to produce the new iPhone 12, according to Chinese media reports. Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in China is said to be cancelling workers' holidays and introducing mandatory overtime with additional bonuses for longer-serving staff, according to information garnered from employees,...

iPhone 12 May Launch Earlier Than Usual in South Korea

Monday September 28, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 12 lineup may launch earlier than usual in South Korea, reports The Korea Herald. South Korean telecoms firms speaking to The Korea Herald have said that the iPhone 12 lineup will launch ahead of its usual schedule. Normally, the release of new iPhones in South Korea comes about one month after launch in the United States. Last year, the iPhone 11 arrived in South Korea ...

iOS 14.2 Beta 2 Adds New Emoji Characters like Ninja, Pinata, Bubble Tea, Polar Bear and More

Tuesday September 29, 2020 11:22 am PDT by
The second beta of iOS 14.2 introduces the new Emoji 13 characters that Apple previewed earlier this year as part of World Emoji Day. New emoji options include ninja, people hugging, black cat, bison, fly, polar bear, blueberries, fondue, bubble tea, and more, with a list below. Faces - Smiling Face with Tear, Disguised Face People - Ninja, Person in Tuxedo, Woman in Tuxedo, Person...

Epic Games Unlikely to Win Injunction in Ongoing Fortnite Battle With Apple, Jury Trial Possible

Monday September 28, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games continued on today, with a preliminary injunction hearing taking place this morning. We're still waiting to hear the judge's official ruling, but it looks like Epic is not going to be granted an injunction to allow Fortnite back into the App Store as the case unfolds. Many of the arguments that lawyers for Apple and Epic Games made were...

Apple Releases Ninth Beta of macOS Big Sur to Developers

Tuesday September 29, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the Ninth beta of an upcoming macOS Big Sur update to developers for testing purposes, a week after releasing the eighth beta and more than two months after the new update was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be...