Sex Information Program Requires Viewer Advisories and Later Time Slot, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, November 20, 2002 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning two episodes of the sex information program Sexe et confidences broadcast every weekday at 1:00 pm on TQS. The CBSC Québec Regional Panel found the station in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming for broadcasting an episode on bestiality before 9:00 pm and for failing to provide viewer advisories during each of the episodes.

Sexe et confidences is an information program hosted by sexologist Louise-Andrée Saulnier. She discusses sexual topics, conducts interviews with experts on various sex-related issues and takes telephone calls from viewers asking questions. She often employs images and video clips to illustrate her subject each day.

A viewer wrote to the CBSC complaining about two particular episodes which he felt should have been broadcast at a later time. The first was about bestiality. The episode was rated 18+, but contained no viewer advisories. The host provided information about the practice, such as laws against bestiality and its role in folklore, and also took telephone calls from individuals who described their experiences. The episode featured photographs and other visual images of bestiality. The Quebec Panel decided that the sexually explicit discussion and images in this episode were clearly intended exclusively for adult audiences (as also suggested by the broadcaster's own rating), thus requiring that the episode air only after the Watershed hour of 9:00 pm.

The topic of the second episode was strip-tease dances. It was rated 16+ and again contained no viewer advisories. Saulnier discussed the history of the seductive ritual and interviewed a film studies professor who spoke about the representation of strip-tease in movies. He showed video clips of strip-tease scenes from various movies. The episode also featured interviews with exotic dancers and strip club clients, accompanied by clips of strip-tease performances. The Québec Panel did not find that episode's 1:00 pm time-slot problematic since it had decided in the past that scenes of nudity when not paired with sexual activity do not require a post-9:00 pm broadcast.

The Panel found that both episodes required viewer advisories in accordance with Article 5.0 of the CAB Violence Code. TQS was found in breach of that article for its failure to provide advisories in either episode.

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 520 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