Broadcaster Airing Matinée Movie Containing Scenes of Violence Not in Breach of Broadcast Standards

Ottawa, August 26, 1998 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the 1 p.m. matinée movie broadcast by CKCO-TV (Kitchener) on January 6, 1997 entitled Kazan. A viewer had complained of the violence and the “incredible cruelty to animals” contained in the movie.

The Ontario Regional Council considered the complaint under the Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB). It concluded that the movie did not contain any gratuitous violence or any scenes which sanctioned or promoted violence in any way, whether against humans or animals. The Council noted, furthermore, that the sanctioning of violence was minimized by the traditional device of portraying all of the perpetrators of violence in the movie as “despicable men” over whom “the good guys” prevail in the end.

On the issue of scheduling, the Council stated that it was undeniable that the movie contained scenes of violence but found that “the scenes of violence contained in Kazan are [not] of such a nature as to be intended for adult audiences only”, thereby triggering the watershed provision of the Violence Code.

... While it is difficult to propose any cut-and-dried formula to apply in coming to any such conclusion, the Council does consider that the presence of the combined elements of fear, suspense, gore and explicitness may help characterize programming containing scenes of violence as adult. The Council notes that the scenes of violence in the movie Kazan were short and often obscured to limit their scariness. The Council finds that, overall, the movie was very tame; in the Council’s view, the few scenes of violence do not negate this characterization. Given the viewer advisories which preceded the broadcast of the movie and were repeated during the first commercial break, the Council is comfortable with CKCO-TV’s scheduling of the movie Kazan at 1 p.m.

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 (###) ###-####.