The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council reminds broadcasters that classification icons and viewer advisories are not synonymous

Ottawa, September 10, 2014 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning two episodes of the Les jeunes loups broadcast on TVA on January 13 and 20, 2014.  The CBSC concluded that appropriate viewer advisories were not broadcast.  In addition, it found that the classification icon was not displayed for the required 15-16 seconds.

Les jeunes loups is a ten-episode television drama series that was broadcast Mondays at 9:00 pm on TVA.  The story focuses on a young team of journalists attempting to present the truth to its readers in its newspaper, Le Matin, and its online newspaper, Le Webmatin, while disregarding established rules.

A viewer complained that, although “13+V” classification icons were displayed during the January 13 and 20 episodes, viewer advisories relating to violence, coarse language and sexually explicit scenes were not issued.  With respect to viewer advisories, TVA explained that broadcasters may determine how these advisories are presented for each episode.  TVA specified that viewer advisories indicating that the program targeted a “13+” (13 years of age and older) audience and contained scenes of violence (“V”) were prominently displayed at the beginning of the show and coming out of each commercial break.

The Quebec Regional Panel considered the complaint under Clause 11 (Viewer Advisories) of the Canadian Association of Broadcaster’s (CAB) Code of Ethics and Articles 5 (Viewer Advisories) and 4 (Classification System) of the CAB Violence Code.  The Panel concluded that TVA violated Clause 11 of the CAB Code of Ethics by failing to broadcast proper viewer advisories concerning the use of coarse language during the broadcasts.  The Panel also concluded that TVA breached Article 4 of the CAB Violence Code by displaying the classification icon for fewer than the required 15-16 seconds during each broadcasts.

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 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