Comments about Running Over Cyclists Did Not Breach Broadcast Code, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, July 15, 2015 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments made during Le show du matin broadcast on CHOI-FM (Radio X, Quebec City).  The hosts of the morning show complained about cyclists who irritate vehicle drivers and suggested that they merit being run over.  The CBSC received numerous complaints about the broadcast, but it determined that the comments did not actually encourage listeners to commit a violent act.

The morning show hosts were discussing e-cigarettes and complained about e-cigarette users’ disregard for the people around them.  They likened this to cyclists who take up too much space on roadways and act like they are morally superior to vehicle drivers.  In addition to the comment about running the cyclists over, the hosts also referred to them as “idiots” and uttered the English expression “F**k you!”.  The CBSC received 145 complaints, alleging that the hosts encouraged violence against cyclists.

The CBSC’s Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaints under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics which prohibits the sanction or promotion of violence.  The Panel considered that the comments expressed the hosts’ frustration with cyclists who inconvenience drivers and did not seriously advocate for violence to be committed against cyclists.  There was, therefore, no breach of the Code in that respect.  The Panel did, however, find a Code breach for the use of coarse language.  Given that this was the third occasion on which CHOI-FM was found in violation of the Code provision relating to coarse language, the station is required to provide the CBSC with a plan to ensure that such breaches will not recur in future broadcasts.

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 900 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