Content of Power Rangers Wild Force Series Is Not Problematic,Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, January 15, 2004– The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the Power Rangers Wild Force series broadcast on CTV on Saturday mornings from 11:30 am to 12:00 pm (and since taken off the air).  A complainant expressed his concern about the airing of this (fourth) version of the series because of a previous CBSC decision taken in 1994 that found the original series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, to contain too much violence for children’s programming.  The CBSC’s National Conventional Television Panel concluded that the updated series was not in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Violence Code.

Power Rangers Wild Force is a live action program that features a group of young people who have the ability to transform themselves into superheroes to battle the forces of evil.  In examining the complaint, the CBSC Panel drew comparisons between the original series and the new version.  It found that the issues of concern in the 1994 decision, namely, the amount of violence (some of which encouraged imitation), the absence of realistic physical consequences to the fighting, the lack of pro-societal messages, and the violence’s irrelevance to the plot, had largely been resolved in the new series.  The Panel stated that “the level of violence had dropped by 50% or more from the 1994 series”, “there is almost no fighting that the Panel considers realistic in nature, “almost none of the violence, whether realistic or fantastical, is shown without consequences”, and “considerably more effort was made to define the individual power Rangers characters by dramatic indicators of personal traits and to make the fighting consequences relevan to the plot.”  The Panel concluded that it had no series-wide difficulties with the content at hand.

The Panel also noted that each episode of the new series was rated “G” (program intended for a general audience).  It found that “it is a misunderstanding of the system to apply a G (or higher) rating to a children’s program in order, perhaps, to alert audiences to the fact that there may be content that is a bit edgy for children.”  It explained the point in the following way:

there is an assumption that the classification system is a single ladder, ascending in a straight line from the floor, namely, the C-rating, to the ceiling, namely, the 18+-rating.  In other words, every rung may represent, to those with such a view, a level of increased caution on the part of the audience sentinels (the parents).

That perspective is incorrect.  There is not only one ladder.  There are two ladders, or scales, or gradations of ratings.  The two correspond to two separate types of programming, the first, one that is general and may appeal to any component of the audience, including children, and the second, one that is specifically aimed at children (who are defined as persons under 12) […]

The point is that the C and C8 categories are not below G, PG, 14+ and 18+; they are parallel to G, PG, 14+ and 18+.  The issue is the nature of the programming.  If intended for children, there are only two possible ratings, C and C8.  If not intended for children, only G, PG, 14+ and 18+ are possible.  Looked at from another perspective, children’s programming cannot have a rating other than C or C8, and programming not developed  for and targeted at children cannot have a C or C8 rating. 

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 530 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