No Breach For Disclosure Of Identifying Information

Ottawa, April 8, 2015 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a Cantonese language report broadcast on the specialty service Fairchild Television on August 12, 2014.  The report focused on an alleged renovation scam and included an image of the renovator’s business card showing his name, face and business address as well as video footage of the business location which was also the renovator’s personal residence.  The CBSC concluded that because the business cards constituted a marketing tool for the business, its display did not constitute a breach of privacy under Article 4 of the RTDNA Code of Ethics. The business address was public, and was reasonably included in the segment. That the address was also a personal residence did not change that outcome.

A viewer complained that the privacy of the renovator was violated and also considered the report to be unfair and “without any solid proof.”

The CBSC’s National Specialty Services Panel examined the complaint and determined that because the business was advertising itself on the card, there was no breach of privacy for broadcasting an image of it during the report.  The Panel found similarly with respect to the broadcast of images of the advertised business location.  With respect to the fairness issue raised by the complainant, the Panel found that the broadcaster met its fairness obligations.  It is not the potential results of the story but the story itself that must be fair.  In declining the offer of an interview, the renovator chose not to present his side of the story.

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