Ottawa, April 20, 1995 – The Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) released its decision today concerning the use of a graphic in a Canada AM (CTV) news report.
In its attached decision, the Council responded to a viewer’s complaint that the program used a graphic of a handgun during the reporting of a strangling death. The complainant believed that the graphic was misleading and deceptive, creating a fear of guns among the viewing audience. He added that the graphic created prejudice against gun owners. After viewing a tape of the program, however, the Regional Council members decided that the graphic was used simply to denote a symbol of crime, and not the method of that crime. Moreover, the Council noted that the first words spoken by the news reporter were, “the strangling death ....” The Council concluded that the report was not inaccurate, nor did it sensationalize the news item, and that reasonable viewers would not have become prejudiced against gun owners after viewing the graphic. As a result, CTV did not contravene industry codes on ethic and journalistic practices.
The CBSC Ontario Regional Council is composed of three broadcasters and three members of the public. The Chair, representing the public, is Marianne Barrie. The Vice-Chair, a broadcaster, is Al MacKay (who was not present for this decision). Other broadcasters on the Regional Council at the time of the decision were Don Luzzi and Paul Fockler; the remaining public members at the time of the decision were Susan Fish and Robert Stanbury.
Created by the private sector broadcasting industry to handle complaints about radio and television programming, the CBSC administers four industry-developed Codes. These are the Code of Ethics, the Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming, the Sex-Role Portrayal Code, and the Code of (Journalistic) Ethics.
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For more information, please contact the National Chair of the CBSC, Ronald I. Cohen, at (###) ###-####.