“Walk to Work” Not in Poor Taste, According to Ontario Regional Council (disponible en anglais seulement)

Ottawa, October 3, 1994 – The Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the “Walk to Work” commercial advertising CHUM-FM and seen on a number of Toronto-area television stations.

The commercial, broadcast in the Toronto area in September and October, 1993, depicted an unclothed man carrying a briefcase and listening to CHUM-FM on headphones, and included a voice-over that stated, “CHUM-FM: it’s all you need to put on”. Three viewers, who had seen the commercial separately on CFTO-TV (Toronto) and CFMT-TV (Toronto), complained that the commercial was in poor taste and promoted nudity, particularly among children who were part of the viewing audience. The viewers wrote to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) with their concerns; the Commission referred the letters to the CBSC. In turn, the CBSC asked CFTO-TV and CFMT-TV to respond to the letters.

CFTO-TV noted that the commercial had been cleared for broadcast without viewer advisories by the Telecaster Committee (an organization that clears commercials for broadcast, according to industry guidelines). Both stations noted that, in their view, the commercial was not offensive and did not promote nudity.

In its unanimous decision, the Regional Council agreed that the commercial was not contrary to prevailing standards of good taste and did not encourage nudity among viewers of any age group. Council members noted, however, that the stations could have been more sensitive to the scheduling of the commercial, to take into account possible public concerns about the impact of the commercial on children. Nonetheless, these considerations did not, in the Regional Council’s view, constitute a breach of industry Codes.

The CBSC Ontario Regional Council is composed of three public representatives and three representatives of the broadcasting industry. The Chair of the Regional Council, Marianne Barrie, represents the public, while the Vice-Chair, Al MacKay, represents broadcasters (Mr. MacKay did not participate in this decision). The other public members of the Ontario Regional Council are Susan Fish and Robert Stanbury; the other broadcaster representatives are Paul Fockler and Don Luzzi.

Created in 1990 and endorsed by the CRTC in 1991, the CBSC is the organization responsible for self-regulation of Canada’s private sector broadcasters. It administers three Codes developed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters: the Code of Ethics, the Sex-Role Portrayal Code, and the Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming. The Council also administers the Code of Ethics of the Radio Television News Directors Association.

The decision is attached.

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