CAB Code of Ethics(1988)

Organization: 

Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Source: 

CAB Code of Ethics(1988 Version)

Date Approved: 

1988

Other Versions: 

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CAB Code of Ethics
(1988 Version)

Background

The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to document the realization by proprietors and managers of broadcasting stations, that, as an integral part in the media of communications of this nation, their first responsibility is to the radio listeners and television viewers of Canada for the dissemination of information and news, the supply of a variety of entertainment programming to meet the various tastes of listeners, and the necessity for ethical business standards in dealing with advertisers and their agencies.

It is recognized that the most valuable asset of a broadcaster is public respect which must be earned and can be maintained only by adherence to the highest possible standards of public service and integrity.

The electronic form of publication known as private commercial broadcasting is a highly competitive business devoted to provision of service to the public in all its interests - business, political, recreational, informational, cultural and educational - for profit.

Revenues from advertising make possible non-government broadcasting and make all types of programmes available to the Canadian people including news, information, education, and entertainment. Each broadcaster is responsible for the programming of the licensed station. This responsibility can only be met by bringing influence to bear upon all who have a hand in the production of programs including networks, sponsors, producers of live and recorded programs, advertising agencies and talent agencies.

Clause 1 - General Programming

Recognizing the varied tastes of the public it shall be the responsibility of the broadcasting industry to so program its various stations that as far as possible, all groups of listeners and viewers shall have from these, some part of the programming devoted to their special likes and desires.


Clause 2 - Human Rights

Recognizing that every person has a right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall endeavour to ensure, to the best of their ability, that their programming contains no abusive or discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status or physical or mental handicap.


Clause 3 - Children's Programs

Recognizing that programs designed specifically for children reach impressionable minds and influence social attitudes and aptitudes, it shall be the responsibility of member stations to provide the closest possible supervision in the selection and control of material, characterizations and plot. Nothing in the foregoing shall mean that the vigour and vitality common to children's imaginations and love of adventure should be removed. It does mean that programs should be based upon sound social concepts and presented with a superior degree of craftsmanship; that these programs should reflect the moral and ethical standards of contemporary Canadian society and encourage pro-social behaviour and attitudes. The member stations should encourage parents to select from the richness of broadcasting fare, the best programs to be brought to the attention of their children.


Clause 4 - Community Activities

It shall be the responsibility of each member station to serve to the utmost of its ability the interests of its particular community and to identify itself actively with worthwhile community activities.


Clause 5 - Education

While recognizing that all programs possess by their very nature, some educational value, member stations will do all in their power to make specific educational efforts as useful and entertaining as possible. To that end, they will continue to use their time and facilities and to cooperate with appropriate educational groups in an attempt to augment the educational and cultural influences of school, institutions of higher learning, the home and other institutions devoted to education and culture. When practical, advantage should be taken of opportunities to consult such institutions on what suitable material is available and how it may best be presented. Where practical, factual material for public enlightenment should be included by stations, networks, advertisers and their agencies.


Clause 6 - News

It shall be the responsibility of member stations to ensure that news shall be represented with accuracy and without bias. The member station shall satisfy itself that the arrangements made for obtaining news ensure this result. It shall also ensure that news broadcasts are not editorial. News shall not be selected for the purpose of furthering or hindering either side of any controversial public issue, nor shall it be designed by the beliefs or opinions or desires of the station management, the editor or others engaged in its preparation or delivery. The fundamental purpose of news dissemination in a democracy is to enable people to know what is happening, and to understand events so that they may form their own conclusions.

Therefore, nothing in the foregoing shall be understood as preventing news broadcasters from analyzing and elucidating news so long as such analysis or comment is clearly labelled as such and kept distinct from regular news presentations. Member stations will, insofar as practical, endeavour to provide editorial opinion which shall be clearly labelled as such and kept entirely distinct from regular broadcasts of news or analysis and opinion.

It is recognized that the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of the broadcast publisher.

Clause 7 - Controversial Public Issues

Recognizing in a democracy the necessity of presenting all sides of a public issue, it shall be the responsibility of member stations to treat fairly, all subjects of a controversial nature. Time shall be allotted with due regard to all the other elements of balanced program schedules, and to the degree of public interest in the questions presented. Recognizing that healthy controversy is essential to the maintenance of democratic institutions, the broadcast publisher will endeavour to encourage presentation of news and opinion on any controversy which contains an element of the public interest.


Clause 8 - Advertising

Recognizing the service that commercial sponsors render to listeners and viewers in making known to them the goods and services available in their communities and realizing that the story of such goods and services goes into the intimacy of the home, it shall be the responsibility of member stations and their sales representatives to work with advertisers and agencies in improving the technique of telling the advertising story so that these shall be in good taste, simple, truthful and believable, and shall not offend what is generally accepted as the prevailing standard of good taste.

Advertising is to be made most effective not only by the use of an appropriate selling message but by earning the most favourable reaction of the public to the sponsor by providing the best possible programming. Nothing in the foregoing shall prevent the dramatization of the use, value or attractiveness of products and services. While appropriate legislation protects the public from false and exaggerated claims for drugs, proprietaries and foods, it shall be the responsibility of member stations and their sales representatives to work with the advertisers of these products and the advertising agencies to ensure that their value and use are told in words that are not offensive. Recognizing also, that advertising appeals or commentaries by any advertiser that cast reflection upon the operation of a competitor or other industry or business, are destructive of public confidence, it shall be the responsibility of member stations, so far as it lies within their power to prevent such advertising appeals or commentaries being broadcast by their stations.

Broadcasters subscribing to the Code of Ethics and Clause 8 approve adherence to the complimentary Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, published by the Advertising Advisory Board; the guidelines on sex-role stereotyping published by the Advertising Advisory Board; the Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children, published by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters; and to the Code of Consumer Advertising Practices for Non-Prescription Medicines, as published by the Advertising Advisory Board. The aforementioned codes and guidelines are all subject to endorsement by the Joint Board of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters from time to time.

Clause 9 - Prohibition of Subliminal Devices

Broadcasters must not knowingly broadcast any advertising material or program that makes use of any subliminal technique or device. "Subliminal device" means a technical device that is used to convey or attempt to convey a message to a person by means of images or sounds of very brief duration, or by any other means, without that person being aware that such a device is being used, or being aware of the substance of the message being conveyed or attempted to be conveyed.

Clause 10 - Advertising on AM and FM Radio Broadcasting Stations

(a) Broadcasters recognize that they are responsible for the acceptability of advertising material which they broadcast. All commercials should be in good taste and should conform with applicable laws and regulations.

(b) Broadcasters should adhere strictly to the provisions of all industry codes or guidelines relating to advertising, such as those pertaining to children's advertising, feminine hygiene products and the advertising of alcoholic beverages.

(c) Broadcasters should ensure that the time allocated to commercial messages is not excessive at any period during the broadcast day, and particularly during high audience periods. The total quantity of commercial messages broadcast on a given station in one week should not, in any event, exceed 1750 minutes.

(d) Broadcasters should ensure in the scheduling of commercial messages that they are appropriate for the likely listening audience at the time the commercials are scheduled, and that they are both scheduled and inserted in a manner that will not detract from the effectiveness of the programming broadcast by the station.

(e) Broadcasters should ensure that advertising material within a newscast is clearly distinguishable from the news information adjacent to it. To this end, any commercial message broadcast within a newscast should not be read by the newsreader.

(f) Broadcasters should ensure that there is no influence by advertisers, or the perception of such influence, on the reporting of news or public affairs, which must be accurate, balanced, and objective, with fairness and integrity being the paramount considerations governing its reporting.

Clause 11 - Radio Station Contests and Promotions

(a) Broadcasters recognize that whereas station contests and promotions are legitimate and useful methods of attracting audiences, they should be conducted in such a manner that the cost of any such contest or promotion is not excessive, particularly in relation to the station's programming budget.

(b) All station contests and promotions should be conceived and conducted in good taste, and particular care should be taken to ensure that they are not likely to give rise to a public inconvenience or disturbance.

Clause 12 - Television Station Contests and Promotions

(a) Broadcasters recognize that, whereas station contests and promotions are legitimate and useful methods of attracting audiences, they should be conducted in such a manner that the cost of any such contest or promotion is not excessive, particularly in relation to the station's programming budget.

(b) All station contests and promotions should be conceived and conducted in good taste, and particular care should be taken to ensure that they are not likely to give rise to a public inconvenience or disturbance.

Clause 13 - Advertising in Television News Programs

(a) Broadcasters should ensure that advertising material within a newscast is clearly distinguishable from the news information adjacent to it. To this end, any commercial message broadcast within a newscast should not be read by the newsreader.

(b) Broadcasters should ensure that there is no influence by advertisers, or the perception of such influence, on the reporting of news or public affairs, which must be accurate, balanced, and objective, with fairness and integrity being the paramount considerations governing its reporting.

Clause 14 - Treatment of Religious Programs

Broadcasters should endeavour to make available to the community, adequate opportunity for presentation of religious messages and should also endeavour to assist in all ways open to them the furtherance of religious activities in the community. Recognizing the purpose of the religious broadcast to be that of promoting the spiritual harmony and understanding of humanity and that of administering broadly to the varied religious needs of the community, it shall be the responsibility of each member station to ensure that its religious broadcasts, which reach persons of all creeds and races simultaneously shall not be used to convey attacks upon another race or religion.


Clause 15 - Sex-Role Stereotyping

Recognizing that stereotyping images can and do cause negative influences, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to exhibit, to the best of their ability, a conscious sensitivity to the problems related to sex-role stereotyping, by refraining from exploitation and by the reflection of the intellectual and emotional equality of both sexes in programming.

Clause 16 - Employees

Each member station shall endeavour to secure the highest possible type of employees and people who are qualified for and suitable to the duties for which each is hired. Every attempt shall be made to make service in the broadcasting industry an attractive and permanent career, permitting employees to contribute through their manner of living and personal attainments to the station's prestige in the community. Each employee shall receive in addition to minimum guarantees provided by applicable legislation, fair remuneration and treatment in accordance with the standards prevailing in the particular community at any time. The general intent of this section is realization that any industry is most often judged by the type of employees it attracts, the manner in which they conduct themselves and are able to live and their opinion of the industry for which they work. Recognizing this as a valuable asset, the broadcaster will do everything possible to maintain and further the best type of staff relations.

Clause 17 - Adherence

(a) All future broadcasting codes which have been endorsed by the Board of Directors and ratified by the membership who subscribe to the Code, at a duly called annual meeting of the Association, shall be incorporated into the Code of Ethics.

(b) Upon adoption of this Code of Ethics by the Association, any member broadcasting station shall be granted appropriate recognition and symbol. It may then make announcement periodically of the fact it is in possession of such certification and be entitled to make appropriate oral and visual use of the Code symbol.


Clause 18 - Composition of the Committee

There shall be a Code of Ethics Committee of five persons, three of whom shall be appointed by the Board of Directors and two elected by the Annual Meeting of the Association for a period not to exceed five years, and appointments may be renewed. Any vacancy in the Committee may be filled for the unexpired term by the Board of Directors. Any vacancy or absence shall not impair the powers of the remaining members of the Code of Ethics Committee to act, provided however, that a quorum of it shall be considered as not less than three persons and such a quorum shall be present before the Code of Ethics Committee is empowered to transact business.

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