June 2000

Ottawa, June 27, 2000 — The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning an episode of the Gilles Proulx Show broadcast on CKAC in Montreal. In the broadcast in question, the host interviewed convicted bomber Raymond Villeneuve, the President of the Mouvement de libération nationale du Québec (at the time of the broadcast), on the subject of a graffiti spray-painting incident at the homes of Quebecers alleged to be federalists, including Proulx’s rival radio show host, André Arthur. A listener complained that the host “made strong references to Mr. Villeneuve that it would have been better if they had bombed Mr. Arthur’s home instead of just spray painting “FLQ” on it.”

The Quebec Regional Council considered the decision under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics. The Council found no Code breach, stating the host’s sarcastic comments regarding the use of “atomic bombs” and “neutron bombs” were not intended to advocate violence:

The Council does not for a moment believe that there was any intention on the part of the host to advocate violence. In a way, its conclusion is simplified by the exaggerated nature of the host’s “violent” suggestion. Had it been a realistic suggestion, it might have been reasonable for the Council to conclude that the host had in fact been advocating a criminal act; however, the utter absurdity of the “suggested” use of nuclear or neutron bombs, which are obviously inaccessible weapons, makes it clear that this is simply a hyperbolic device used as a part of the well-known rivalry between the two Quebec radio hosts.

Moreover, the Council noted that contrary to another program on which the CBSC had to rule on the use of sarcasm, here mitigation had been offered as “the host did allude to the possible visit of the police at Mr. Villeneuve’s home following the interview, a clear reference to the potentially illegal nature of the actions discussed on the air and to the possible consequences of such actions.”

The Council also found no breach regarding the broadcaster’s choice to interview a convicted criminal, stating that “[w]hile it would be wise for broadcasters to be cautious in their provision of a platform to a criminal who might wish to profit financially, psychologically or otherwise from his crime or to exploit the public, in the absence of the breach of a specific Code provision, it is up to the broadcaster alone to make such an interviewee choice.”

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 430 radio and television stations and specialty services from across Canada are members of the Council.

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Ottawa, June 23, 2000 — The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning three episodes of the Adler on Line and Afternoons with Larry Updike talk shows broadcast on CJOB-AM in Winnipeg. In the broadcasts in question, the hosts and callers to the show commented on the role of First Nations Chiefs in a demonstration at the Manitoba Legislature, as well as on other general issues relating to the First Nations. In a detailed letter of complaint, the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs alleged that certain statements made by the hosts and the callers promoted hatred.

The Prairie Regional Council considered the decision under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics. The Council dealt with certain allegations individually, such as those relating to the violent nature of the Chiefs, the instigation of the actions at the Legislature, the use of pepper spray by the police, the inappropriate dealing with money by the Chiefs and other Band members, the governing of the Chiefs, and the government on the reserves. The Council found no Code breach relating to any of these allegations. Generally, the Council concluded that the allegations made by the complainant were “exaggerated, isolated and overstated in the complaint.”

While the Council did not uphold the complaint, it did, however, note that, on certain occasions, one of the station’s news reporters deviated from strictly reporting the news by giving her personal opinion without so identifying it. Still, the Council found no breach, stating that “[a]part from the small lapses noted above between news reporting and the expression of opinion (which do not go to the allegations of human rights violations), the reporter’s statements relating to the motivation and instigation of the disturbance do not appear to be improper.”

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 430 radio and television stations and specialty services from 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