Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Releases Annual Report

Ottawa, December 20, 2005 – In its Annual Report for 2004/2005 released today, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) reports a record year in terms of the number of CBSC complaints and decisions.  While complaints continued to flow in at a rate of about 2,000 yearly, there were 125 decisions (of either a formal Panel or summary variety) rendered.  The Annual Report also provides statistical information about the complaints, an analysis of matters dealt with in the summary decisions, summaries of the formal Panel decisions, as well as details of the CBSC’s activities in the ethnocultural area.  As Ron Cohen, the CBSC’s National Chair, said,  

Canada is more and more the reflection of its manifold multicultural and multilingual communities and the CBSC ensures that its process and standards are extended into those communities.  Indeed, it is fair to state that the Council’s print and electronic resources epitomize that outreach.  Our hope is that Canadians of all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities and language preferences have both a visual and a practical sense that this is a website, and a Council, that recognizes, belongs to and serves all Canadians. 

The report also points out that the CBSC’s website is the world’s window on the Canadian self-regulatory system.  In two years, “hits” have more than doubled, rising to a total of nearly 5.4 million per year.  Available to complainants, researchers and other interested parties 24/7, the website includes a thorough explanation of the CBSC processes and its most frequently applied Code provisions in 40 languages – Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Cree, Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Mohawk, Ojibwa, Pashtu, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese. 

In 2004-05, the split between television and radio programming complaints was 75%-25%.  The regional breakdown for complaints not classified as national was Ontario (39%), Quebec (33%), British Columbia (15%), the Prairies (12%) and the Atlantic provinces (2%).  The leading areas of complaints were, in television, news and public affairs (25%) and, in radio, open line or other forms of “informal discourse” (69%).  Added Mr. Cohen, “It’s been an extremely active year, one that indicates that Canadians who have concerns about anything they have seen or heard on television or radio know that private broadcasters provide them with an avenue for resolution of those concerns.”

Canada’s private broadcasters have themselves created industry standards in the form of Codes on ethics, gender portrayal and television violence by which they expect the members of their profession will abide.  In 1990, they also created the CBSC, which is the self-regulatory body with the responsibility of administering those professional broadcast Codes, as well as the Code dealing with journalistic practices first created by the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) in 1970.  More than 550 radio and television stations and specialty services from across Canada are members of the Council. 

– 30 –

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