Inciting Violence on Radio Breaches Broadcast Code, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, November 28, 2017 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments broadcast during Énergie le matin on CKMF-FM (Énergie 94.3, Montreal).  One host recommended vigilante justice in response to a news story about a controversial Twitter post.  The CBSC found that the broadcast had advocated violence contrary to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics.

On October 19, 2016, the morning show hosts discussed a news story about a controversial tweet on Twitter.  They named the tweet’s author and explained that he had made an inappropriate reference to feminists and the 1989 École Polytechnique shooting.  The Sûreté du Québec had launched an investigation.  One host expressed the view that this was not enough and that the man should be beaten up, a view he repeated several times.  One of his co-hosts disagreed, emphasizing that it was better to let the police do their job.

A listener complained that, although the tweet itself was unacceptable, the host should not have incited violence against an identified individual.  The station agreed that the host had gone too far.  The CBSC’s French-Language Panel examined the complaint under Clause 9(a) of the CAB Code of Ethics which prohibits radio content that sanctions or promotes violence.  The Panel found a breach of that clause because the host clearly advocated violence and did so repeatedly; the disagreement of his co-host did not suffice to mitigate the comments.

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 5 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, conventional and discretionary television services across Canada participate in 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 .  For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Andrée Noël, at anoel@cbsc.ca or CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab, at jmacnab@cbsc.ca or by telephone at (613) 233-4607.