Satirical Program Not Intended For Children, Broadcast Standards Council Decides (disponible en anglais seulement)

Ottawa, March 25, 1997 -- The Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) released its decision today concerning the Greek-language program, Etho Pou Ta Leme, aired by CFMT-TV (Toronto).

The decision concerns a segment of the program broadcast on a Sunday afternoon in June, 1996. The segment, a parody of children’s programming entitled “Curious George”, depicted two actors performing slapstick gags, one of which had one character crawling under a table and trying to set the other character’s shoe on fire. A CFMT-TV viewer complained about the program. In her complaint letter, she contended that the segment was in poor taste as it condoned playing with open flames, and its scheduling exposed child viewers to dangerous acts. The station replied, however, that the program was intended for adults and that the segment in question had been clearly identified as satire. The viewer was unsatisfied with this response and asked the CBSC to have its Ontario Regional Council review the matter.

In its decision (attached), the Ontario Regional Council affirmed that, while there are industry standards concerning the depiction of violent acts in programming intended for children, this segment, indeed the program, was not intended for children. The Council noted that the program Etho Pou Ta Leme was a public affairs program that targeted an adult audience. As the Council stated, “while some children might be watching Etho Pou Ta Leme, the program was not directed at children and the segment in question was clearly a parody or satire of children’s programming intended for the amusement of adults.” At worst, the Council believed that the scheduling of the program might have been injudicious but the station did not breach the industry’s Code regarding television violence.

In addition to administering the Violence Code, the CBSC administers broadcasting industry codes on ethics, gender portrayal and journalistic ethics. Some 400 private sector television and radio stations from across Canada are members of the CBSC.

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This and other recent decisions of the CBSC are available on the World Wide Web at www.cbsc.ca.