Content Did Not Breach Codes, but Advisory Should Mention Violence, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, March 1, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning Global Television’s broadcast of the animated sitcom Family Guy.  The CBSC concluded that none of the content of the program violated any codes of standards, but that the viewer advisory on the episode should have warned viewers about a violent scene.

The CBSC received a complaint from a viewer about an episode that aired on July 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm.  The viewer complained that the program contained language and other material that was inappropriate for that hour because children could be watching.  Global acknowledged that this program “tends to push the envelope”, but pointed out that it had provided viewer advisories and rated the episode 14+.

The CBSC’s National Conventional Television Panel examined the complaint under various provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics, Equitable Portrayal Code, and Violence Code.  The Panel concluded that the coarse language, sexual innuendo and jokes relating to identifiable groups were all sufficiently mild so they did not violate any Codes.  The episode included one scene that was a spoof of Bugs Bunny cartoons, in which Bugs Bunny was shot by Elmer Fudd at close range and then died in a bloody and prolonged manner.  The Panel concluded that the viewer advisory that Global put on the program should have warned about this scene.

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