Ottawa, July 20, 2017 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning an American religious program called Truth of God broadcast on HopeTV (CIIT-DT, Winnipeg) in September 2016. The CBSC found that the episode contained abusive and derogatory comments about homosexuals and transgendered people contrary to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.
Truth of God consists of sermons from a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The church pays for airtime on HopeTV. On the September 10, 2016 episode, the pastor talked about a government bill to allow transgendered people to use the bathroom of their choice. He objected to the proposed law and to anyone switching from the sex with which they were born. He called it “perversion” and suggested that a man dressed as a woman trying to use a woman’s bathroom would likely commit rape. He also referred to the law-makers who agreed to such a law as “faggots” and “pedophiles”.
The CBSC received a complaint from a viewer who characterized the comments as “hate speech”. The CBSC Panel examined the complaint under clauses of the CAB Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code which prohibit abusive commentary about identifiable groups, as well as clauses relating to degrading material and derogatory terminology.
While the broadcaster was allowed to air the pastor’s objections to gender-neutral bathrooms and sex re-assignment, the Panel found that HopeTV had gone too far by allowing the inflammatory language about transgendered people as well as the abusive terms “faggots” and “pedophiles” towards the law-makers. There were breaches of both codes.
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. Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada participate in the Council.
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