Ottawa-Hull, August 5, 1997 - In its decision in CHUM-FM re Sunday Funnies (CBSC Decision 95/96-0064, March 26, 1996), the CBSC had determined that CHUM-FM had not exceeded the bounds of reasonableness in the particular jokes in question which it had broadcast. The complainant had not been satisfied by the decision and had "appealed" it to the CRTC.
The Commission concluded that the particular jokes did not constitute a broach of the abusive comment provision of Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics or sec. 3(b) of the Radio Regulations, 1986. Their letter stated, among other things, that "The Commission agrees with the CBSC's assessment that not every comment that refers to matters of race, national or ethnic origin (etc.) falls afoul of the abusive comment provision of [above sections of the Code and the Regulation]." The Commission further agreed with the position of the CBSC on other aspects of jokes relating to ethnic humour.
The Commission strongly agrees with the CBSC that the standard to be applied to potentially offending statements will be not be different between serious and comedic situations. However, the Commission agrees with the CBSC that the audience perceptions and expectations may be different in these two situations. Thus, the humorous environment is relevant to the context in which the comments are to be evaluated and assessed.
The full text of the Commission's letter can be found on the CBSC website.