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British PM Chimes In On Sony/Church Controversy

| 13 Jun 2007 18:23

British Prime Minister Tony Blair implicitly chided Sony for not adhering to its social responsibilities in a question and answer session in Parliament, as the controversy over a PlayStation 3 title's gun battle in a virtual rendition of Manchester Cathedral continued.

The first-person shooter Resistance: Fall of Man came under attack by church authorities because of its depiction of violence in a virtual rendition of the historic cathedral.

Church officials have demanded an apology and a "donation" to make amends, saying that Sony failed to pay a commercial fee for using the church as part of the game.

Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, told BBC, "For a global manufacturer to re-create one of our great cathedrals with photo-realistic quality and then encourage people to have gun battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible."

Echoing that theme in Parliament, MP Tony Lloyd asked Blair, "Would the Prime Minister agree with me then that when Sony used images of Manchester Cathedral as part a game which extols gun violence, this was not only in bad taste but also very, very insulting to not simply the Church of England, but people across the land who think it's inappropriate that big corporations behave in this way?"

The prime minister responded affirmatively, though his tone was less strident:

"I agree with my honorable friend. I think it's important that any of the companies engaged in promoting these types of goods have some sense of responsibility and also some sensitivity to the feelings of others. ... I've no doubt this debate will go on for a significant period of time, but I do agree. I think it is important that people understand there is a wider social responsibility as well as an interior responsibility for profits."

The title's developer has not commented on the controversy, but Sony has said it will contact church authorities in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

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