Broadcast Standards Council Reviews Third “Fashion Television” Complaint (disponible en anglais seulement)

Ottawa, April 8, 1997 -- The Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning CITY-TV’s Fashion Television.

This is the third decision concerning the program that the Council has issued in the past 3 years. A CITY-TV viewer complained to the CBSC that an episode of the program aired in December 1994 contained nudity and sexually explicit material aired during times when families would be watching television. In her view, the program was pornographic. She cited a number of examples from a segment in the program which featured the work of a fashion photographer, and showed parts of women’s bodies and women embracing. CITY-TV replied, however, that nudity should not be equated with pornography, and the fashion depicted in the show was art. Moreover, the station added that the program dealt with more than just fashion: it addressed style and art, in a manner that was sexy with a sense of humour. The viewer, unsatisfied with CITY-TV’s response, asked the CBSC Ontario Regional Council to consider the complaint.

The Regional Council, which had already reviewed a complaint about the same program from the same viewer, as well as another complaint about Fashion Television, indicated as it had in previous decisions that there was nothing pornographic or exploitative about the program. While there was nudity in the program being considered, nudity is not necessarily pornographic or sexually explicit. As the Council stated in its decision (attached), “pornography implies the exploitation of the weak by the strong in an obscene or prurient context. Those elements are utterly absent in the material complained of.” As a result, CITY-TV did not breach the industry’s code on gender portrayal, which deals with the exploitation of women, men and children. The Council also noted that CITY-TV had provided the viewer with a lengthy response to her concerns and that it was in keeping with CBSC standards of broadcaster responsiveness.

Composed of women and men from the broadcasting industry and the general public, the CBSC Ontario Regional Council is chaired by Al MacKay, a broadcasting industry representative. Robert Stanbury, a representative of the public, is the Vice-Chair. Other public members are Taanta Gupta and Meg Hogarth, while the other broadcaster members are Madeline Ziniak and Paul Fockler.

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This and other decisions of the CBSC are available via Internet at www.cbsc.ca.