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June 29, 2022 12:02 pm  #1


CRTC Orders Rare Apology To Listener Over "N-Word" On CBC French Stn.

Remember when Wendy Mesley was forced to leave the CBC over the use of the "N-word" in an editorial meeting? It happened a year ago and prompted her to write an article in the Globe & Mail trying to explain how it happened. It involved a French book title that has become extremely controversial and she quoted its title in English, leading to the uproar that wound up derailing her career. 

Well, now that word - and that book - has surfaced again, this time on CBC French station CBF-FM. A listener complained about the repeated use of the book title, prompting a storm of his complaints to the CRTC. Now, after a flurry of investigations, paperwork and other filings, the CRTC has issued a ruling in this complicated case. They've ordered the station to issue a written apology to the offended listener and to examine its policies over the issue. 

This thing is way too complicated to get into here - the CRTC release about can take half an hour or more to read - but their basic premise seems to be it should never have been referred to on air, even if just in the title of a controversial book and even though it wasn't used to refer to a specific person. 

But it doesn't end there. The decision has prompted two CRTC Commissioners to issue dissenting opinions, arguing that the word has an entirely different meaning in French, that there has to be an intellectual way to discuss this issue without creating self-censorship and that unless they brought up the title of the book they were referring to, the audience wouldn't have known what the panel discussing it was referring to. 

This whole thing is a powder keg that exploded again on the CBC, and my advice would be just to stop doing shows about the book that keeps causing the problems in the first place. 

The person who issued the complaint didn't write to the CBSC, and I'm assuming that's because it's a CBC station, not a private broadcaster, and therefore not a member of that panel. 

But how many more times is the CBC going to go to this well? 

Anyway, if you're in the mood for a bit of bureaucratese but also a long and fascinating read, you can check out the entire rationale for all this in the release explaining the Broadcasting Decision.

Complaint against Société Radio-Canada on the use of an offensive word on air 

 

June 30, 2022 10:15 pm  #2


Re: CRTC Orders Rare Apology To Listener Over "N-Word" On CBC French Stn.

According to one pundit, this CRTC ruling has very worrisome implications for the new yet-to-be-fully-passed Bill C-11, which gives the Commission control of Internet content, even though Chair Ian Scott insists they will never use it.

But Internet policy expert and lawyer Prof. Michael Geist warns Wednesday's ruling means they already have. 

CRTC Ruling Signals How Bill C-11 Could Be Used To Regulate Internet Content

     Thread Starter
 

July 3, 2022 11:11 pm  #3


Re: CRTC Orders Rare Apology To Listener Over "N-Word" On CBC French Stn.

You seem to be really interested in protecting hate speech. I don't need the right to use that word online because I never would.

 

July 3, 2022 11:33 pm  #4


Re: CRTC Orders Rare Apology To Listener Over "N-Word" On CBC French Stn.

Tomas Barlow wrote:

You seem to be really interested in protecting hate speech. I don't need the right to use that word online because I never would.

This is a classic canard, since I believe you're combining two separate stories into one.

I have no interest in "protecting hate speech." There are already laws against it and they should be rigorously enforced. My second post in this thread is on a separate issue from the first and is about an entirely different item - Bill C-11. Perhaps they should have been separate threads. 

My problem with the latter is with a government bill that would give the CRTC the power to regulate user speech online, a law that was sped through the House of Commons with almost no chance at debate or amendments and that contains a clause the feds swear will never be enforced, yet which they adamantly and without explanation refuse to remove despite repeated requests to do so.  

It's also a law that a slew of experts on both the left and right have a real problem with, including at least three former CRTC members and a respected law professor who is considered by many an expert on the subject. 

And finally, the bill is now in the Senate awaiting final approval - and there are even some Liberal-leaning Senators who are balking at giving it speedy passage because they're worried about its implications. That speaks volumes when their own party members have so many reservations. If it passes, I expect huge court challenges and it's such a poorly crafted piece of legislation, it would not surprise me if a court strikes down parts of it as being unconstitutional.  

The Bill referred to in my previous post has nothing to do with the CBC story that started this thread. I would agree there is no need to ever utter that word, either on air or in person and I would never use it. Why it seems to keep turning up on and around the CBC is another question that they need to answer. If anyone seems to be spreading hate speech, it's them - and so often being politically correct, they're the last place I'd expect to hear it. Yet it's come back to bite them twice. 

Perhaps you should be asking them why that's the case. 

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July 4, 2022 11:49 am  #5


Re: CRTC Orders Rare Apology To Listener Over "N-Word" On CBC French Stn.

     Thread Starter
 

July 13, 2022 1:50 pm  #6


Re: CRTC Orders Rare Apology To Listener Over "N-Word" On CBC French Stn.

Now the CBC is telling the CRTC to butt out. Would any private station dare to take this position? This story just keeps getting more interesting. 
 
CBC/Radio-Canada apologizes for using N-word, but says CRTC 'overstepped' authority

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September 14, 2022 9:43 am  #7


Re: CRTC Orders Rare Apology To Listener Over "N-Word" On CBC French Stn.

This story never seems to completely go away. Law professor Michael Geist now has evidence, obtained at great difficulty through a Freedom of Information Act request, that the CRTC had made this decision months earlier but failed to release it publicly.

He suggests the reason is that the government was in the middle of the controversial Bill C-11 debate. In his mind, there was only one explanation for the delay - it would prove promises that the proposed new law won't lead to media and Internet censorship were demonstrably false.

Agree or not, it's a fascinating read about internal divisions at the CRTC and some documents they didn't want the public to see. 

Misleading on Bill C-11: Why Did the CRTC Sit on the Radio-Canada Decision For Nearly Eight Months?

     Thread Starter