Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, January 7, 2009 --- Following very negative reactions from different segments of Quebec society and people of all ethnocultural backgrounds, CRARR has filed a complaint with the CRTC against Société Radio-Canada (SRC), for having broadcast on December 31, its Bye Bye 2008 show which, according to CRARR, violated the 1987 Television Regulation and the CRTC’s standards of high quality.

CRARR condemns the repetitive use of and references to offensive terms such as the “N” word, and unacceptable jokes and stereotypes related to physical and sexual characteristics of Black persons, during the segment of the show featuring a fictitiousinterview of U.S. President Elect Barack Obama by a Quebec TV show host.

According to many Black persons and those of other backgrounds which found the show distasteful and discriminatory, this particular segment of the program has the effect of exposing Black persons to contempt and reinforcing negative racial stereotypes, even in the name of humor. As well, these statements went against the standards of “ high quality” imposed by the Broadcasting Act on SRC and other licensees.

CRARR considers that SRC has shown negligence in the control and supervision of its legal obligations at the creative, programming and broadcasting levels. Furthermore, many aspects of the show may also have violated the CRTC’s requirements of high quality, diversity and equality due to the many negative and offensive jokes directed at members of groups protected by the 1987 Television Regulation.

“Given the reaction of a great number of intelligent Quebecers and Canadians, it is clear that those responsible for the production and broadcast of Bye Bye 2008 do not understand that our values have evolved, and this, at less than one month from the inauguration of Barack Obama,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

“It is a national embarrassment to hear on the airwaves of our national public and on prime time, the “N” word used repeatedly in negative jokes against Black people, even in a comedy show. Creative freedom should not be a license to insult people with impunity on public airwaves. The senior management of SRC/CBC should be held accountable,” he said.

CRARR will intervene during the upcoming CRTC audiences on the SRC license renewal to raise issues of regulatory compliance related to this show and the 2005 Tout le monde en parle show, during which derogatory statements made by a guest, Doc Mailloux, related to the intelligence of Black persons, leading to numerous complaints at the CRTC (see Broadcast Decision CRTC 2006-565) and several lawsuits against the SRC. CRARR strongly encourages the Black communities of Quebec and in the rest of Canada to intervene at the SRC’s license renewal.