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Red Cross condemns misuse of emblem in games

The British Red Cross has told GamesIndustry.biz that it hopes to work with developers to prevent the "illegal and detrimental" misuse of the red cross emblem in videogames.

The British Red Cross has told GamesIndustry.biz that it hopes to work with developers to prevent the "illegal and detrimental" misuse of the red cross emblem in videogames.

"It is important for videogame manufacturers not to use the emblem in their games, including for matters related to its humanitarian purpose, such as first aid or general medical care," said Michael Meyer, head of international law for the British Red Cross.

"The use of the emblem in videogames is both illegal and detrimental to the special protective value of the emblem."

Meyer's comments come after US website GameLaw.org published a letter from David Pratt of the Canadian Red Cross complaining about the "unauthorised and indeed illegal use of the Red Cross emblem by the [gaming] industry."

"The fact that the Red Cross is also used in [videogames] which contain strong language and violence is also of concern to us in that they directly conflict with the basic humanitarian principles espoused by the Red Cross movement," Pratt stated.

Meyer said this view was shared by the British Red Cross, which "has been aware of this problem for a number of years" and would welcome a dialogue with game developers "in order to prevent further misuse of the emblem and to try to stop current misuses."

"We would be willing to work with a videogame manufacturer to produce a game which shows the emblem in its correct use, as a symbol of protection during armed conflict, and where the player is rewarded for using the emblem correctly. Such a game could reward the player for respecting the rules of war and thereby, help the Red Cross Movement with its work to promote such respect," Meyer continued.

"The help of videogame manufacturers in protecting the integrity of the emblem, and upholding its special meaning, would be much appreciated."

Photo credit: Olav Saltbones/Norwegian Red Cross, Feb 2005 - Convoy in Sudan

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