Broadcast Conversation about Remembrance Day Fight Sanctioned Violence, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
Ottawa, July 17, 2013 - The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a conversation broadcast on the Dean Blundell Show on CFNY-FM (102.1 The Edge, Toronto). The conversation was about a fist-fight that had broken out at the Toronto Remembrance Day ceremony. The program hosts commended a man who had beaten up a protestor. The CBSC found that the comments sanctioned violence, contrary to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics.
The broadcast conversation occurred on November 13, 2012. At the Toronto Remembrance Day ceremony, people had apparently protested Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan. Blundell and his co-hosts spoke with a man who had got into a fight with a male protestor. Blundell and his co-hosts expressed approval for the man’s actions against the protestor with comments such as “Oh, you dummied him!”, “Good for him!” and “thanks for doin’ that”. They also asked him if he got “laid” by his girlfriend afterwards because she was proud of him. Some of the other protestors were female; the program hosts called them “bitches” and “skanks” and stated “I wish there were bigger girls around that didn’t share their views that just dummied them too.”
A listener filed a complaint about the broadcast. CFNY-FM responded that the hosts had simply discussed the incident with one of the participants and, at one point, Blundell had even said “I don’t suggest people go around beating up protestors.” The CBSC’s Ontario Regional Panel did not consider that an adequate defence for the other comments and concluded that they sanctioned, promoted and glamorized violence contrary to Clause 9(a) of the CAB Code of Ethics.
In contrast, the Panel found no code breach for the use of the terms “bitches” and “skanks” to refer to the female protestors, and the word “prick” to refer to the male protestor because those words are mild swear words acceptable for broadcast at any time of day and the individuals targeted by the words were not identified by name. The Panel also found that there was no abusive commentary about identifiable groups because no specific groups were mentioned.
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 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence. Nearly 760 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.
– 30 –
All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab