Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
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CRTC asks the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to review decision to ban Dire Straits song

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, January 21, 2011 — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission today wrote to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) asking it to review its determination that the unedited version of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits was inappropriate for Canadian radio. On January 12, 2011, the CBSC’s Atlantic Regional Panel found that the use of a derogatory word in the song breached broadcast codes.

The CBSC’s decision has elicited a strong public reaction and created uncertainty for private radio stations across the country. The Commission has received over 250 letters from Canadians, most of which questioned the decision. These letters have been forwarded to the CBSC.

Given the exceptional nature of this situation, the Commission has asked the CBSC to appoint a panel with a national composition to review the complaints regarding the Dire Straits’ song as well as its original decision.

The Commission expects that the council will seek further comments from the public on the matter. Furthermore, the CBSC should take into consideration all relevant factors, including:

  • the context of the particular wording in the song’s theme and intended message
  • the age and origin of the song and the performance date
  • the prominence of the contested word and the use of that word over time, and
  • the length of time and frequency that it has been playing on the radio.

Established in 1990 by private broadcasters, the CBSC is a self-regulatory body that administers codes on ethics, equitable portrayal, television violence and journalistic independence.

CRTC Letter to the CBCS

The CRTC

The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

Reference document:
News release, “Use of derogatory word for gays in a song breaches broadcast codes, says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council,” January 12, 2011

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