Policy 1.1.6: Violence in Programming

Effective: July 6, 1994

Television has a powerful role in shaping the attitudes of society to contemporary issues, and in affecting the behaviour of those who watch television programs. The CBC/Radio-Canada, as the nation' public broadcaster, accepts as its role both the reflection of society as it exists and has existed; and the depiction of the higher aspirations, standards and values of humankind.

As part of this role, the CBC/Radio-Canada will exercise strong control over the depiction of violence in its programs.

In all its programs, CBC/Radio-Canada will avoid any advocacy or promotion of violence.

The CBC/Radio-Canada will favour, as general policy, programs in which dramatic conflict arises and is resolved by methods other than violence and terror.

The CBC/Radio-Canada will restrict the depiction of violence in its news and current affairs programming (see Journalistic Policy).

The CBC/Radio-Canada will make a special commitment in children's programming (see Program Policy 1.1.7)

The CBC/Radio-Canada will pay rigorous attention to the scheduling of programs with violent scenes. Such programs will generally be scheduled during adult viewing periods.

The CBC/Radio-Canada will provide viewers with clear advisories when violent scenes are to be shown. The advisories will be carried in on-air promotion and during the presentation of such programs.

To ensure that depiction of violence is not gratuitous or glamorized, producers and programmers will observe the following guidelines:

  1. Violence must not be presented as an easy solution; or as entertaining.
  2. Scenes of pain and suffering, and the showing of wounds must be brief and relevant.
  3. Violence must not be shown as erotic. Rape and sexual assault must not be shown desired or welcomed by victims.
  4. The depiction of abuse of any disadvantage person requires great sensitivity.
  5. Cruelty to animals should be shown rarely and only when integral to plot development and theme. Producers and programmers will sometimes decide that the artistic merit of a program or the significance of a theme merits exceptions to the guidelines. In such cases, they must ensure that their supervisor is consulted.

In cases of special concern, they will ensure that the Vice-President of the Network approves the program. In these cases, viewer advisories must be shown at the beginning of, and during, the exempted program.

Note: While this policy largely relates to television, its general principles are applicable to radio as well.

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