Brief Mentions of Sex Not Problematic under Codes, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, March 14, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments made on the radio talk show Dupont le midi broadcast on May 17, 2011 on CHOI-FM (Radio X, 98.1, Quebec City).  The CBSC concluded that a brief mention of sexual matters was neither “unduly sexually explicit” nor degrading under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) codes of standards.

During the broadcast, the hosts were talking about the terms people use to describe their romantic relationships, particularly in the “relationship status” field on Facebook pages.  Host Dupont joked that some of the options could be [translations] “I’m horny”, “I’m hot for you”, “I just want sex” and then suggested a sex-related term for his female co-host’s status.  The station broadcast the conversation at 12:25 pm.  A listener complained that it was degrading and vulgar.

The CBSC’s Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaint under Clause 9(b) of the CAB Code of Ethics, which prohibits the broadcast of “unduly sexually explicit material” and under Clause 7 of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code which states that broadcasters shall avoid airing degrading material.  The Panel concluded that the content did not violate either of those Code provisions.  The references to sex were not detailed descriptions of sexual acts and there was nothing insulting or degrading said about any individual or group.

The Panel also examined the broadcaster’s response to the complainant because it had erroneously addressed a different segment which the complainant later explained was not the subject of his complaint.  The Panel concluded that the station had nevertheless met its obligation of responsiveness to the complainant because the original complaint had been vague about the actual content of concern.

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