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"Aural pornography" not funny, says CBSC

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CHOI-FM Sillery
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CBSC Decisions
Radio - On Air
OTTAWA - Comedic intent does not justify unduly sexually explicit content, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council told Quebec City's CHOI-FM in a decision released today.

A listener complained about a morning broadcast last fall, saying it was too sexually explicit to be broadcast.

During its morning show on September 3, 2003, between the hours of 9 and 10 a.m., CHOI-FM broadcast a discussion among the show host, Jeff Fillion, and his colleagues concerning the content of certain popular women's magazines. The host sought to make the point that women's magazines such as Clin d'oeil and Elle always have a "big sex teaser" ("un gros sex-choc"), which does not generally follow through on its promise.

"In support of this point, Fillion provided his audience with made-up headlines from such magazines, which were quite sexually explicit," reads the decision. "A listener characterized the on-air discussion as 'aural pornography' and, consequently, inappropriate for broadcast." If you can read French and want to read what Fillion said, check out the decision by clicking here.

In its defence, the Genex Communications-owned broadcaster replied that a critique using humour and exaggeration, even where sexual content was a component of the humour, constitutes justification for the broadcast of such content. Moreover, CHOI-FM argued that humour is subjective.

The Quebec Regional Panel concluded that: "there was nothing equivocal about the broadcast; there was neither the innuendo nor the double-entendre� Nor could it be said that the comments were understated or subtle in anyway. They were plainly and simply explicit, and unduly so," reads the decision.

Furthermore, the panel explained that the comedic intention of the broadcaster cannot be an excuse for airing unduly sexually explicit material. It explained, "that defence is usually proposed by a broadcaster in an attempt to justify some form of commentary, frequently discriminatory matter, which would not, but for its intended humorous nature, be at all justifiable."

So, the CBSC has found that CHOI-FM has breached the provision of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics which prohibits unduly sexually explicit content on the radio. The broadcast was in violation of Clause 9 of the Code of Ethics, which requires that particular care shall be taken by radio broadcasters to ensure that programming on their stations does not contain unduly sexually explicit material.
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