Ottawa, April 29, 2020 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a report about a mistreated horse broadcast on LCN’s public affairs morning show Le Québec matin. The report showed a horse being dragged by a pickup truck and the clip was repeated a total of 11 and a half times during a one-minute-thirty-seven-second-long report. The CBSC concluded that this repetition breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Violence Code.
Le Québec matin airs daily from 5:30 to 10:00am. The report in question was broadcast at 9:23 am on November 27, 2019 and showed a home video of a horse tied to the back of a pickup truck being dragged through the snow. The video was shown three times before the host warned that the images were not easy to watch. It was then repeated a further seven and a half times in full screen mode. The host informed viewers that the incident had occurred in Colorado and that the couple who owned the horse had been charged. The two hosts discussed the incident, calling it “terrible” and “this shouldn’t happen at all”.
A viewer complained that his wife had been “traumatised” by viewing this “animal torture” and that it was aired at a time when children could be watching without sufficient time to change the channel before the warning. He wrote that he did not need to see animal cruelty to understand what it is. LCN pointed out that there was a warning and that the hosts had denounced the act.
The CBSC’s French-Language Panel examined the complaint under the News and Public Affairs provisions of the CAB Violence Code. The Panel indicated that it was acceptable to show the clip, but to repeat it 11.5 times was excessive. The Panel found a breach of Article 6.2 of the CAB Violence Code. It also found a breach of Article 6.3 because the warning was uttered after the clip had already been shown three times. In addition, the Panel noted that, although the news presenter informed viewers that the incident had occurred in Colorado, a banner on the bottom of the screen read “Texas”. The Panel considered that this error was not sufficiently significant as to constitute a code violation for inaccuracy.
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. For more information, please contact CBSC Chair, Sylvie Courtemanche, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 613-233-4607.