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

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.



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19 weeks 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.
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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.
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
19 weeks 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.
Rating: 4 Votes
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19 weeks 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.
Rating: 3 Votes
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19 weeks 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.
Rating: 2 Votes
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19 weeks ago
Dang I was looking for a direct link for the apps. Guess I will have to search each one.
Rating: 2 Votes
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19 weeks ago
Damn SJWs are the worst part of the human race, some I assume are good people (real activists).
Rating: 2 Votes
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19 weeks ago
I'm not sure that this isn't as much about "video games inspire violence" as it is about taking a serious situation that has ruined or cost the lives of thousands of people and trivialising it into a form of casual entertainment.
Rating: 1 Votes
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19 weeks ago

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.


Well played!!

And when the old classic game “drug wars” came to mobile from the legacy PDA realm I saw no complaints. I don’t see how such games in this article are much different unless some recruitment factor is occurring.

THAT would be scary.
Imagine an App Store or Google Play store game HD to do with espionage war bombings god knows what else and had a direct communications Ui for recruitment? Hat would be messed up!! I’m surprised and glad this hasn’t occurred yet.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
19 weeks ago
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.

Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
19 weeks ago

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


Im starting a movement/group. Its going to be called - A Riot Shows Everyone How Ordinary Love Evokes Success. There will be a bunch of us.
Rating: 1 Votes
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