Horror Movies and Other Mature Content Should Only Air After 9:00 pm, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, July 8, 2020 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning multiple different broadcasts on Super Channel’s multiplexes Vault, Fuse and GINX eSports Canada. The CBSC concluded that the stations violated the Pay TV codes for airing violence, sexuality and coarse language before the “Watershed” hour of 9:00 pm.

The CBSC reviewed eight separate broadcasts pursuant to a complaint. The broadcasts included the horror movies Friday the 13th: Part VII – The New Blood, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, Pet Sematary (1989 version), and A Cure for Wellness, the thriller Zero Dark Thirty, and three video game information programs The First Hour, Squad, and GINX Plays. The complainant identified detailed examples of scenes that included violence, sex or coarse language before 9:00 pm. Super Channel pointed out that it is a pay television service, but acknowledged that there had been some oversights in its scheduling practices.

The CBSC English-Language Panel examined the complaint under the Industry Code of Programming Standards and Practices governing Pay, Pay-Per-View and Video-on-Demand Services and The Pay Television and Pay-Per-View Programming Code regarding Violence. Although those codes give more latitude to pay television services, since those services require viewers to subscribe specifically to them, the codes nevertheless set out the same “Watershed” period of 9:00 pm to 6:00 am for content intended for adult audiences. All of the challenged programs were aired earlier than 9:00 pm.

The Panel concluded that each of the broadcasts contained one or more of the elements of violence, sexuality or coarse language intended for adult audiences. The broadcasts therefore should only have occurred after 9:00 pm (and before 6:00 am). The Panel also found Super Channel in breach of its responsibilities of CBSC participation for failing to provide official and complete recordings of three of the challenged broadcasts. The Panel also reminded the service to keep its contact information up-to-date with the CBSC so that there will be no delays in conserving proper recordings in the future.

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 www.cbsc.ca.