Sexual Discussion Program Requires Viewer Advisories

Ottawa, February 12, 2003 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the magazine-style program Je regarde, moi non plus broadcast Fridays at 10:30 pm on TVA. The show features panellists and guests who discuss and provide information on sexual topics. The CBSC Québec Regional Panel concluded that the program did not exploit either men or women but that its sexual nature required viewer advisories.

A viewer complained about the explicit sexual nature of Je regarde, moi non plus. The episode reviewed for the decision included, among other things, a report about escort services, a description of sex toys and an explanation of different types of orgasms. Some of the segments included visual material, such as a comedic drawing of a man with an erect penis.

The Québec Regional Panel examined the complaint under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code and concluded that, in accordance with its provisions, while the program did not exploit men or women, it was clearly intended for adult audiences. The Panel also examined the broadcast under the CAB Violence Code which requires that programming intended for adult audiences contain viewer advisories at the beginning of the broadcast and coming out of every commercial break. Je regarde, moi non plus had only a mock advisory at the start of the show. As the Panel explained:

Advisories should have been aired at the beginning of the program and following each commercial break. It goes without saying that the humorous “advisory” used at the beginning of the challenged episode is not what the Panel has in mind. This is not to suggest for an instant that the broadcaster is not entitled to include such a light-hearted element in its program but rather to explain that TVA must find a way to include the serious advisory at the times required for the benefit of audience members wishing to make informed viewing choices for themselves and their families. The absence of this required element constitutes a breach of the advisory requirements of the CAB Violence Code.

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 530 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