Coarse Language Requires Post-9:00 pm Time Slot & Viewer Advisories, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, August 8, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning TVA’s broadcast of Juste pour rire:  Le gala hommage à Denise Filiatrault on January 15, 2012.  The CBSC found that TVA breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics for broadcasting coarse language in a program that began before 9:00 pm and for failing to provide viewer advisories.

Le gala hommage à Denise Filiatrault was a variety program which contained monologues, songs and sketches to pay tribute to the Quebec actress/director.  The program began at 8:30 pm.  It contained French swear words, such as “calice”, “tabarnac’”, “chrisse” and “hostie”.  There were no viewer advisories alerting the audience to this language.

The CBSC received a complaint from a viewer who was concerned that children could be exposed to the coarse language in the program.  In its reply to the complainant, TVA mentioned one particular comedy sketch and pointed out that the coarse language helped to demonstrate the level of frustration of the characters.

The CBSC’s Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaint under the Scheduling (Clause 10) and Viewer Advisories (Clause 11) provisions of the CAB Code of Ethics.  It noted that the CBSC has previously determined that a program beginning before 9:00 pm must respect the rules for pre-9:00 pm programming throughout its duration, even if some of the scenes technically occur after 9:00 pm.  It also noted that the Quebec Panel has previously determined that the words used in the program should not be broadcast before 9:00 pm.  TVA thus had the choice of broadcasting the program after 9:00 pm with the coarse language or broadcasting it before that hour with the problematic language muted out.  TVA breached Clause 10 for broadcasting it before 9:00 pm.  It also breached Clause 11 for failing to provide any advisories during the program.

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.

– 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