Strike three for Call-In Contest Program

Ottawa, January 28, 2015 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision regarding the call-in contest program L’instant gagnant, which is broadcast on V.  The CBSC concluded that some of the puzzles lacked transparency and were misleading, and therefore violated the Contest provision of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics.

L’instant gagnant is a contest program in which the host invites viewers to telephone the program to solve various games and puzzles in order to win a cash prize.  The CBSC received complaints about episodes of the program that aired on February 15, May 2 and May 8 2014.  Complainants were concerned about different aspects of the program, including the lack of transparency of the featured games, the solutions of some of the puzzles, the reliability of the telephone system, and, more generally, the alleged fraudulent nature of the program.

The CBSC’s Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaints under the CAB Code of Ethics.  It reiterated that it can only rule on matters that are broadcast on air because it does not have jurisdiction on off-air matters such as the telephone call assignment system.  It did, however, find the broadcaster in violation of Clause 12 of the CAB Code of Ethics for the challenged games.  Although the answers were displayed on screen, it was clear that the games lacked transparency and were misleading.  The additional explanations from the broadcaster only served to confirm these observations.

This is a third violation of Clause 12 of the CAB’s Code of Ethics for L’instant gagnant.  Consequently, in order to remain a member of the CBSC, the broadcaster is required to provide a concrete indication of the measures which it intends to put in place to avoid further similar violations of the 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 seven codes that deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and pay and specialty television services across Canada are members of the Council.

– 30 –

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