Nudity After 11 p.m. Acceptable with Viewer Advisory Says Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, August 14, 1998 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the broadcast by CKX-TV (Brandon) of the movie National Lampoon’s Animal House. A viewer complained of the nudity shown in the broadcast and stated that the viewer advisory provided by the broadcaster was too vague and too infrequent.

The Prairie Regional Council considered this complaint under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code and Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming.

The Council was comfortable with the broadcaster’s decision to schedule Animal House at 11 p.m., well beyond the watershed hour, noting that the broadcast included viewer advisories. Commenting on the advisory, the Council noted that it could have been aired more frequently and that it could have been more explicit regarding the nudity contained in the broadcast. The Council concluded, however, that, given the absence of an explicit requirement in the Violence Code to air advisories for genres of adult content other than violence, no breach of the Code had occured in this instance.

With respect to the issues concerning sex-role portrayal, the Council found no breach. The film genre resulted in the presentation of almost every one of the group of young college people depicted as unflattering as one might expect from a film emphasizing the frivolous, narcissistic, often gross, occasionally disgusting portrait of college fraternity life which can best be characterised as high farce. The Council stated that

It is essential to remember that the principal goal of the Sex-Role Portrayal Code relates to the equality of the sexes and not to issues of sexual behaviour which do not go to equality or exploitation, which is itself a form of inequality.

While the portrayal of the women in the film is not overly flattering, it cannot either be said that the portrayal of the men is any better or advantages them in any way.

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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