The Special Role of the CBSC
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council plays a special role in the Canadian broadcasting industry. It deals with complaints and queries from the public about Canada's private broadcasters' programming.
Committed to Canadians
Private broadcasting is an important part of the Canadian community. Broadcasters have the ability to influence opinion, modify attitudes and shape minds. That's why the industry created a voluntary system of codes that set high standards for all of their programming.
Through these codes, private broadcasters promise to respect the interests and sensitivities of the people they serve, while meeting their responsibility to preserve the industry's creative, editorial and journalistic freedom.
Since 1990, the CBSC has helped the industry ensure that these high standards are maintained.
Many similar bodies have been statutorily created in other parts of the world and some even function on a quasi-judicial basis. Not so the CBSC, which is a creature of the private broadcasters and plays an intermediate role in the regulatory process. With the support of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and the approval of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), but without the heavy club or formalities of government sanctions, the Council promotes self-regulation in programming matters by Canada's private sector broadcasters.
The CBSC's Objectives
The CBSC has five principal objectives:
- to assist in the effective application to the Canadian broadcasting system of specific broadcast standards developed by the CAB, the RTNDA and such other bodies and associations as may be involved in the creation of the Codes and any other standards as may be duly approved and administered by the CBSC from time to time;
- to inform the public of the existence of such standards and the self-regulatory system established by Canada's private broadcasters in a manner consistent with the human and financial resources of the Council. The role of the Internet and the Council's web site are recognized as the principal tool in this connection. The provision of the maximum amount of information for the public on the CBSC's Codes, decisions, members, related legislative and regulatory documents, links to other useful web sites and documents are seen as a material component of that educational process;
- to provide a recourse for members of the public regarding the application of these standards. This involves the creation and administration of an effective complaints procedure which will be responsive to listener and viewer complaints about broadcaster members' programming and will, to the extent possible, encourage the resolution of complaints at the local level, directly between broadcasters and their audiences;
- where such complaint resolution is not possible, to render thoughtful, independent, objective decisions and to ensure their accessibility to the public so that broadcasters and audiences will be more aware of the standards regarding programming content with which broadcaster members must comply; and
- to inform broadcasters of emerging societal trends (including developments in the Codes and their administration) and to suggest ways to deal with them. This educational and informational mandate may be served in various ways, including by the development of new and/or revised standards, the preparation of publications intended for the CBSC's members, and, most important, personal contact between the CBSC staff and the Council's members.