Global TV’s Broadcast of a Program Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund Not in Breach of Broadcast Standards

Ottawa, May 19, 1998 -- The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the broadcast on the Global Television Network of a program produced and sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund entitled Before It’s Too Late.

This program, which sought to increase public awareness regarding the endangerment of various animal species and solicited funds to further the cause of wildlife preservation, was comprised of many segments which told stories of species being hunted by poachers to near extinction, of species having to consistently re-locate due to ever-increasing human encroachment on wildlife areas and of species being poisoned by pesticides and other contaminants in the environment. Some of these segments included scenes depicting carcasses of bears, tigers, birds, turtles, rhinoceroses and whales. In two of them, a bear and a tiger were seen being shot. The complainant had stated that her son had been most horrified by these grotesque scenes.

The Council found that the program did not breach any of the provisions of the Violence Code, underscoring that the Code does not purport to make television so sanitized that all depictions of violence disappear from the medium. Only gratuitous violence or scenes glamourizing or promoting violence are strictly prohibited by the Code. Other scenes of violence may require viewer advisories or scheduling in post-watershed hours. In the Council’s view, Before It’s Too Late did not contain any prohibited scenes of violence, nor did it contain any scenes triggering the advisory or scheduling provisions of the Code.

With respect to the scheduling of Before It’s Too Late, the Council noted that the program was broadcast at 9 am on a weekday morning during a school holiday. While making no assumption of broadcaster carelessness in this instance, the Council reminded broadcasters of the desirability to be sensitive to the scheduling of programs during school holidays.

The CBSC is the self-regulatory body created by private broadcasters to respond to complaints and administer industry standards on ethics, journalistic practices, gender portrayal and television violence. Nearly 400 radio and television stations 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 www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the National Chair of the CBSC, Ron Cohen, at (###) ###-####.