Abusive Comments on the Basis of Sexual Orientation Unacceptable, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, August 29, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the religious call-in program It’s Your Call broadcast on CITS-TV (CTS Ontario).  The CBSC concluded that multiple episodes of the program contained abusive and unduly discriminatory comments on the basis of sexual orientation as well as some inaccurate information.  CTS violated the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

It’s Your Call is a Christian program on which the host presents a topic of discussion for each episode and encourages viewers to contact the show by telephone or internet to voice their opinions.  In some episodes, the topic related to issues regarding sexual orientation.  The CBSC received multiple complaints about different episodes of the program, alleging that the programs contained negative comments about homosexuals.

The CBSC’s Ontario Regional Panel examined the complaints under the Human Rights clauses of the CAB Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code which prohibit abusive or unduly discriminatory commentary on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as the Religious Programming clause of the CAB Code of Ethics which states that programs shall not convey attacks on identifiable groups.  The Panel noted that religious programs are allowed to declare homosexuality a sin, but that It’s Your Call crossed the line by allowing program participants to accuse homosexuals of a malicious “agenda” to “recruit” and “brainwash” children and of having a propensity to commit violent crimes such as rape targeting straight people.

The Panel also concluded that the program contained inaccurate information about various related issues, such as details about Toronto’s school curriculum.  Those inaccuracies violated the Full, Fair and Proper Presentation clause of the CAB Code of Ethics.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 750 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab