Comment about Hitting Cyclists is in Breach of Broadcast Code, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, April 4, 2018 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments made by radio personality André Arthur during the program 100 % Normandeau on CFEL-FM (BLVD 102,1, Quebec City) on March 27, 2017.  Arthur suggested that cyclists who ride in winter should be hit.  The CBSC concluded that the remarks breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics.

André Arthur appeared as a commentator on the current affairs talk show hosted by Nathalie Normandeau.  At one point, in light of that day’s snowstorm, they talked about cyclists who ride their bicycles in inclement winter weather.  Arthur said, [translation] “the definition of an idiot is someone who rides their bicycle in winter.  […]  Today, someone on a bike, hit them, relieve them, do something.”

The CBSC received 1 112 complaints about the broadcast, alleging that Arthur had incited listeners to commit violent acts against cyclists.  The station agreed that the comment was unacceptable and Arthur apologized for his remarks the next day.  Arthur said that he had not intended to encourage people to kill cyclists and had meant to express his dread about the possibility of hitting them when road conditions are poor.

The CBSC’s French-Language Panel examined the complaints under Clause 9(a) of the CAB Code of Ethics which prohibits sanctioning or promoting violence on radio.  The Panel found a breach of the code.  The Panel acknowledged Arthur’s “provocative style”, but noted that there was no immediate counterpoint to his remarks.  The Panel did not doubt the sincerity of his subsequent apology and did not require the station to announce the breach finding on air.

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 5 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, conventional and discretionary television services across Canada participate in the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, codes, and related information are available on the CBSC’s website at .  For more information, please contact the CBSC Chair, Sylvie Courtemanche, at scourtemanche@cbsc.ca or by telephone at 613-233-4607.