Coarse Language Not Acceptable During Daytime Programming

Ottawa, April 8, 2015 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a live interview with Mike Tyson broadcast on the specialty service CP24 on September 10, 2014 at approximately 1:50 pm ET.  On at least two occasions during the interview Mr. Tyson used extremely coarse language.  The CBSC concluded that by failing to immediately terminate the interview after the first instance of coarse language the broadcaster was in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics scheduling provision for airing coarse language during the day.  The panel concluded that in light of the unexpected nature of the content, there was no requirement for viewer advisories.

CP24 is a 24-hour news station.  Reporter Nathan Downer interviewed former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, and his promoter, Alex Choko, who were in Toronto to promote Mr. Tyson’s one-man show.  Mr. Downer raised the issue of Mr. Tyson’s rape conviction.   Mr. Tyson, upset by the question, began to use profanity (amongst others the F-word) toward Mr. Downer.

The CBSC received five complaints that the coarse language was not appropriate for broadcast during daytime hours when children might be watching.

The CBSC’s National Specialty Services Panel examined the complaints under the scheduling and viewer advisories provisions of the CAB Code of Ethics.  The Panel concluded that coarse language was such that it should not have been broadcast during the day.  The coarse language would not reasonably have been expected given the nature of the broadcast, so there was no requirement for viewer advisories.

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 800 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