Negative Comments About Haitians Violated Broadcast Codes, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, September 18, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments made on Le Show Tard broadcast on CHOI-FM (Radio X, Québec City).  A guest on the program of April 20, 2012 made negative comments about Haitians which the CBSC concluded were unduly discriminatory, stereotypical and degrading under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

Psychiatrist Pierre “Doc” Mailloux was invited as a guest on Le Show Tard to provide advice to callers.  In response to one young man who said he had had his first sexual experience at 13 years old, Mailloux twice exclaimed [translation] “Pathetic!  […]  You’re nothing more than animals!  That’s worse than Haiti!”  A listener complained that the remarks were racist towards Haitians.  CHOI-FM argued that Mailloux had not directly stated that Haitians were animals and that, taken in context, the comments were not racist.

The CBSC’s Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaint under the Human Rights clauses of the CAB Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code, as well as the clauses regarding Stereotyping and Degrading Material of the Equitable Portrayal Code.  The Panel concluded that the comments did imply that Haitians were like animals and the comments were, therefore, abusive and unduly discriminatory and degrading towards Haitians and presented an unduly negative stereotype of that ethnic/national group contrary to all of the aforementioned Code provisions.

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