Violent Reality Show Requires Post-9:00 pm Broadcast, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, September 18, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning an episode of the reality program C’est incroyable! broadcast on Canal D.  The CBSC concluded that the program contained violence intended for adult audiences, requiring a broadcast after 9:00 pm, a 16+ rating and specific mention of violence in its viewer advisories.  In failing to do so, Canal D violated the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Violence Code.

C’est incroyable! (the original English title is Most Shocking) is an American reality program that shows clips of real crimes in progress, captured by security cameras or witnesses with portable devices.  Specialty service Canal D broadcast an episode on January 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm entitled “Malfaiteurs détraqués” (“Criminals Out of Control”).  The episode contained many scenes of violence, including:  a man holding a young girl hostage with a large knife, gunfire during an attempted robbery, a bloody fistfight between neighbours, a street fight between two groups of young men, and a man shoving his girlfriend against a brick wall.

A viewer complained that the program was too violent for an afternoon broadcast when children could be watching.  Canal D responded that the program does not endorse the violence as the narrator emphasizes the absurdity of the actions.  The station also noted that it provided viewer advisories and a 13+ rating.

The CBSC’s Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaint under the CAB Violence Code.  It concluded that the program did not sanction, promote or glamorize the violence, but that it should only have been shown between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am since it contained violence intended exclusively for adult audiences.  The Panel also found that Canal D should have rated the episode 16+ and should have specifically mentioned violence in its viewer advisories rather than just saying that the program contained material unsuitable for children.  Canal D therefore violated Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Code.

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.  Nearly 750 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay 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