Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Finds Breaches for Inaccurate Answer & Lack of Transparency in Contest Program

Ottawa, February 22, 2018 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the contest program Game Time broadcast on CHCH-DT (Hamilton, Ontario). The CBSC found breaches of the Contest provision of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics for the display of an inaccurate puzzle answer and for a lack of transparency in a word-search solution.

Game Time is a contest program in which viewers are invited to telephone the show to solve puzzles to win cash prizes. Each call costs $1 regardless of whether or not the call is randomly selected to be put through to the host so the caller can suggest an answer.

The CBSC treated two complaints about the program. The first complaint was that the answer to a puzzle that involved counting the number of triangles in a picture was inaccurate. The graphic showing the solution contained triangles that were not even in the original picture. The broadcaster explained that the wrong graphic had been displayed due to a hardware glitch and an apology was made on a subsequent episode. The CBSC found a breach for this error, but did not require CHCH-DT to make an announcement because the correction had already aired.

The second complaint was that the program is generally unclear about the rules and the telephone selection process. The CBSC explained that it has no jurisdiction to assess the telephone system, but it did find a breach for a car brand word search game because the host had failed to clearly explain to viewers that the correct answer was a set of three car brands that the producers had pre-selected, not just any three brands visible in the grid. Instead, the host had made the solution seem easy, stating “there’s no tricks”. The CBSC also recommended that the program ensure that its on-screen scroll is clearly legible to an average viewer and that information provided in the scroll should also be provided verbally by the host.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry. The CBSC currently administers 5 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence. Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, conventional and discretionary television services across Canada participate in the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, codes, and related information are available on the CBSC’s website at . For more information, please contact the CBSC Chair, Sylvie Courtemanche, at or by telephone at 613-233-4607.