Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Finds Problems with Call-In Contest Program

Ottawa, December 20, 2012 - The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the call-in contest program L’instant gagnant broadcast on V. The CBSC concluded that some of the puzzles lacked transparency and therefore violated the Contest provision of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics.

L’instant gagnant is the most recent version of a contest program in which the host invites viewers to telephone the program to solve various games and puzzles in order to win a cash prize. The CBSC received multiple complaints about episodes of the program that aired between March 5 and September 28, 2012. Complainants were concerned about different aspects of the program, including the length of time it took for a successful caller to reach the studio, the provision of clues as the games progressed, the use of special effects to entice viewers to call, and the solutions of some of the puzzles.

The CBSC’s Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaints under the CAB Code of Ethics. It explained that it had no way of investigating the telephone system, so it could not make any comments about how calls are selected. It found no problem with the fact that the host would give clues as the games progressed or with the use of flashing imagery and sound effects designed to create excitement. It also had no problem with some of the games, such as “spot the differences between the pictures”. It did, however, find a Code violation for some games involving the addition of numbers because, even though a solution was displayed on screen, the methodology was not evident or transparent; even with additional explanations from the broadcaster, the methodology was questionable.

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 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence. Nearly 760 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services 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 CBSC’s website at