Violent Program Requires Advisories, Broadcast Standards Council Rules (disponible en anglais seulement)

Ottawa, August 31, 1995 – The Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) ruled today that a film aired on the CTV Network should have been preceded by viewer advisories regarding the violent nature of the film’s content.

A CTV viewer wrote to complain about the film, “Complex of Fear”, which aired on CTV at 9 p.m. The film related the true story of a rapist and the police investigation of a number of rapes committed by the man. The viewer felt that the film glamourized rape and constituted violence against women and children. He added that the film was not preceded by a viewer advisory. In reply, CTV agreed that the film should have been shown with advisories, and apologized for the omission. CTV stated, however, that the violence in the film was integral to the story. The CBSC’s Regional Council viewed a tape of the film and agreed that the film, which dealt with the difficult subject of rape, did not glamourize rape and in fact addressed the negative consequences of rape on all of the characters in the film. Nonetheless, because CTV had not included any advisories in this film, which was clearly intended for adult audiences, the Regional Council unanimously decided that the Network had breached the industry’s Code regarding television violence. The Code states that broadcasters shall provide viewer advisories at the start and during the first hour of programming containing scenes of violence intended for adults. CTV is required to announce this decision during prime time within 30 days.

The Ontario Regional Council of the CBSC includes women and men from the broadcasting industry and the general public. The Chair, representing the public, is Marianne Barrie. The other representatives of the public are Taanta Gupta and Robert Stanbury. The Vice-Chair, who represents broadcasters, is Al MacKay, while the other broadcaster who participated in the decision was Paul Fockler.

Created in 1990 as the organization for self-regulation of private sector broadcasters, the CBSC includes some 400 television and radio stations across Canada. The Council administers codes on television violence, gender portrayal, ethics and journalistic ethics.

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For more information, please contact Ronald I. Cohen, the National Chair of the CBSC, at (###) ###-####.