Bleu Nuit’s Erotic Movie Not In Breach of Broadcast Standards

Ottawa, August 29, 1998 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the broadcast by CFJP-TV (TQS, Montreal) of an erotic movie entitled Été sensuel (dubbed from the American film entitled A Sensual Summer) at 11:30 p.m. as part of its Bleu Nuit series. A viewer complained of the sexual content of the movie and on-screen icon indicating a “13+” rating.

The Quebec Regional Council considered the complaint under the Sex-Role Portrayal Code of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB). The Council found no breach of the Code.

... the Council finds that there is none of the degradation of either sex which would be characteristic of a film which could be classified as exploitative. Fundamentally, the purpose of the Sex-Role Portrayal Code is to prevent “negative or inequitable sexrole portrayal of persons” but not “the depiction of healthy sexuality”. The Council considers that the treatment of sexuality in this film, while perhaps not of the highest cinematic level, is not in breach of the Code.

On the question of the classification of the film as 13+, the Council noted that at the time of the broadcast of Été sensuel, there was no formal CRTC requirement for broadcasters to employ a classification system. Consequently, whatever ratings designation was broadcast was a voluntary provision of additional information by TQS. The Council also noted that the broadcaster employed the ratings classification for the program which had been made in accordance with the terms of the Film Classification in Quebec of the Régie du Cinéma du Québec, which had determined that the rating of “13+” (accompanied by a reference to the presence of erotic scenes in the film) was appropriate. It also remarked, as in other recent decisions, that it “would have been helpful to viewers generally to have the advisory repeated, at least in on-screen form, at each commercial break during the first hour of the broadcast; however, this is not required in the case of advisories not dealing with violent elements in a television broadcast.”

Canada’s private broadcasters have created industry standards in the form of Codes on ethics, gender portrayal and television violence by which they expect their members will abide. They also created the CBSC, which is the self-regulatory body with the responsibility of administering those Codes, as well as the Code dealing with journalistic practices created by the Radio Television News Directors Association Canada (RTNDA). More than 430 radio and television stations and specialty services from across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members’ and other web sites, and related information are available on the World Wide Web at For more information, please contact the National Chair of the CBSC, Ron Cohen, at (###) ###-####.