October 4, 2004

THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE CRTC RULING ON CHOI-FM


Hugh Winsor's assessment in THE GLOBE AND MAIL on August 30th, 2004 of the recent CRTC ruling concerning CHOI-FM's broadcasting licence in Quebec is right on! Of course the real issue is whether or not the Broadcast Act's requirements for " a high standard of balanced programming", which requires broadcasters to refrain from abusive, mysogynist, racist and discriminatory comments of one kind or another, has any relevance.

The fact that several thousand CHOI fans were riled enough to journey to Ottawa to protest the CRTC's decision under the misguided view that denial of the radio station's licence renewal somehow involves an attack on free speech and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a pathetic development. Should we all cave now, as the Federal Court appears to be doing, on the basis of shifting community standards? Surely we haven't completed lost our moral compass.

As Winsor pointed out, CHOI has been warned before and, although the station agreed to adhere to a code of ethics that, in theory, governs all broadcasters, it chose to ignore it. This is blatantly unfair to more responsible broadcasters who take it seriously. Andre Wylieà is the best Vice-President of Broadcasting at the CRTC that we've had in years. It would be a shame if we were to lose her over this incident and to, once again, be saddled with someone with far less backbone.

Rose Anne Dyson, Ed.D.
Chairperson, C-CAVE
Author of MIND ABUSE: Media Violence In An Information Age
Co-author of MEDIA, SEX, VIOLENCE and DRUGS in the GLOBAL VILLAGE and Terrorism, Globalization & Mass Communication