CFCF-TV re Matrix

QUEBEC REGIONAL COUNCIL
(CBSC Decision 93/94-0166)
J. Deschênes (Chair), P. Audet, Y. Chouinard, R. Cohen (ad hoc), L. Harvey

THE FACTS

CFCF-TV had been airing an action series called Matrix at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday evenings. Shortly after the CAB Violence Code came into effect in January 1994, a Westmount viewer sent an undated letter to the CBSC complaining about the hour at which the series was being screened. The viewer put his complaint in the following terms:

The new CAB rules as pertains to TV programs safe for family viewing are unequivocal “programming which contains scenes of violence intended for adult audiences shall not be telecast before the late evening viewing period, defined as 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.”

Clearly [the] program director of CFCF-12 has chosen to disregard these precepts and air a program called Matrix which has absolutely no redeeming values at 8 p.m. on Saturday. This program does not belong on the airwaves at this time and should be moved to a later viewing time, preferably 10 p.m. This flaunting of regulations established to protect the more impressionable young viewer is totally unacceptable and CFCF- 12 should be firmly reminded of their responsibility to the Canadian public.

The letter was forwarded by the CBSC to the broadcaster, who responded to the viewer on March 7. While the response was brief, it did deal with the issue with some precision in terms of the station's actions. The Vice President of Programming stated:

I am sure you will be pleased to know that CFCF 12 has moved
Matrix
to 9.00 PM on Fridays effective March 4th, 1994. Matrix was not televised during CTV's Olympic coverage.

For your information, CTV will be taking
Matrix
off the air in April.

The viewer was unsatisfied with this response and requested that the CBSC refer the matter to the appropriate Regional Council for adjudication.

3.1.1 Programming which contains scenes of violence intended for adult audiences shall not be telecast before the late evening viewing period, defined as 9 pm to 6 am.

The Regional Council members viewed a tape of the episode of the program most closely related in time to the date the complaint was received by the Council and reviewed all of the correspondence. The Council considers that the episode viewed does not breach the provisions of the CAB Violence Code.

The Council does acknowledge that there may have been other episodes of the series which contained such material; it was not, however, made aware of any such episodes which may have been run between the time of the complaint letter and the date as of which the series was shifted to the 9:00 p.m. Friday night program slot. In other words, no additional complaints were received reflecting such a problem. In the circumstances, the Council does not consider that Matrix breaches the CAB Violence Code.

This decision is a public document upon its release by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. It may be reported, announced or read by the station against which the complaint had originally been made; however, in the case of a favourable decision, the station is under no obligation to announce the result.