Belgium 🇧🇪 is a European country whose main religion is Christianity. It is subdivided into three federated regions: Flanders, Wallonia, and the Brussels-Capital Region. It is a member of the European Union.

General censorship[]

In Belgium, having a a media regulating body and/or a censorship bureau is explicitly forbidden as is stated under article 25 of the Belgian constitution, which states: "The printing press is free; Censorship can never be introduced; no security bond can be demanded from writers, publishers or printers. If the writer is known and lives in Belgium, the publisher or printer cannot be persecuted." This rule, however, led only to more swearing and political subject matter on Belgian television than in other countries. Sex, violence, racism, and religion in themselves have rarely been shown on Belgian television and are much more regularly depicted in other countries. It can be said that legalizing sex and violence on TV removes all the fun of attempting to shoehorn it in. It is however still interesting to know that someone from a pressure group in Belgium would be considered a stimulator of criminal activity.

Book censorship[]

  • Guggenheimer Wast Witter - this novel written by Herman Brusselmans, a writer who regularly pokes fun at Flemish celebrities in a degrading and largely inaccurate manner, sparked a controversy when one of his victims, fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester, convincing a court to ban the novel in 1999. Belgians were outraged seeing this as preventive censorship with no chance for the author to really defend himself; this ban could be circumvented by importing the book from the Netherlands. In 2011, former Belgian Prime Minister and then-EU governor Herman van Rompuy introduced an EU-wide law preventing this sort of judicial order, which led to the ban being overturned.

Internet censorship[]

  • Many sites that infringe copyright or facilitate copyright infringement are blocked in Belgium.
  • Vitae, a cryptocurrency website, is blocked due to potential scam.
  • Isohunt, KickassTorrents, h33t, monova, TorrentReactor, TorrentHound, Yify Subtitles, Interplanetary File System and MEGA are blocked unilaterally in Belgium.
  • Many gambling websites are blocked in Belgium.

Movie censorship[]

  • La Kermesse Heroïque - this film was banned between 1940 and 1945 in the Nazi-occupied Belgium by Joseph Goebbels due to its pacifist themes. Its director, Jacques Feyder, was hunted down for arrest but managed to hide in Switzerland.
  • In the Realm of the Senses - this Japanese film was banned due to its graphic sex scene. Belgium was the only country in Europe to ban this film. This was the last movie to be censored in the country, with the ban being lifted in 1994.

Television censorship[]

Video game censorship[]

  • In light of the controversy surrounding loot box/gacha-style microtransactions that erupted in the latter half of 2010s, Belgium took an aggressive approach, declaring them gambling and therefore illegal. As a result, several video games have had their microtransaction systems disabled in the country in compliance with the law, and others that have such mechanics as their primary monetization systems (such as Nintendo's Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, FIFA 17 and Fire Emblem Heroes) have completely shut down in the country. The Pan European Game Information introduced an In-Game Purchases descriptor in response. The aforementioned gambling law also resulted in some Roblox experiences becoming unavailable to residents of Belgium (e.g., experiences where the user can spend Robux to get random items).
  • Genshin Impact - a few weeks after the release, this game's Playstation 4 release was banned in Belgium due to its gacha-like mechanics, which the Belgian law forbids as it is compared to gambling. The game is still playable on PC and Android, however[1].

External links[]

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