Violent Movie Required Post-9pm Time Slot, Detailed Advisories & 18+ Classification, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, December 21, 2016 — The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the television broadcast of the feature film Eastern Promises on Game TV.  The CBSC concluded that it should have only been broadcast after 9:00 pm, with detailed advisories and an 18+ classification due to the violence, sex, coarse language and mature themes.

Eastern Promises is a 2007 dramatic film by David Cronenberg about the Russian mafia.  It deals with human trafficking, rape and prostitution of young women and other nefarious mafia activities.  It contains multiple scenes of graphic violence, an explicit sex scene in a brothel, as well as numerous instances of the f-word.  Game TV broadcast the film at 8:00 pm Eastern Time on June 9, 2016 with viewer advisories alerting to the violence, coarse language and mature themes, but no classification icon.  The CBSC received a complaint from a viewer who lived in the Pacific time zone and therefore saw the broadcast at 5:00 pm.  Game TV acknowledged that its viewer advisories should also have mentioned “nudity” and indicated that it would re-edit the film for future broadcast.

The CBSC examined the complaint under provisions relating to scheduling, advisories and classification of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Violence Code and Code of Ethics.  The CBSC concluded that the film clearly contained scenes of violence, sexuality, coarse language and mature themes intended exclusively for adult audiences and therefore should only have been broadcast after 9:00 pm.  It noted that the time applies only to the time zone in which the signal originates, but reminded broadcasters to be aware that their programming appears earlier in other time zones.  The CBSC also concluded that the advisory should have mentioned both “nudity” and “sexuality” and that the broadcast should have featured an 18+ classification icon.  The CBSC found Game TV in breach of both 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 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada participate in 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 . For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Andrée Noël, at anoel@cbsc.ca or CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab, at jmacnab@cbsc.ca or by telephone at (613) 233-4607.