F-word ruled OK for French broadcasts

The ruling states the F-word does not have the same “vulgar connotation” in French

Canada’s broadcast regulator has ruled that a swear word that’s off-limits on English-language broadcasts is acceptable in French programming.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that a Quebec music radio station did not violate any rules by airing two clips of celebrities using the F-word as part of public speeches.

A listener of CKOI-FM filed a complaint after hearing the profane clips from Madonna and Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong played two months apart on afternoon programming.

The council ruled that CKOI-FM did not violate broadcast standards by playing the uncensored clips.

It says the F-word does not have the same “vulgar connotation” in French that it does in English and notes that the term was not used as an insult directed at a specific target.

The latest ruling is consistent with a similar decision handed down last year regarding a French-language television broadcast.

CKOI referred to that past decision that excused television network MusiquePlus’ use of the F-word in a broadcast, emphasizing that the word is construed differently in Canada’s two official languages.

The broadcast regulator referenced that decision again in its latest ruling, noting that language is evolutionary and reflects current society.

“The panel prefers to impress upon broadcasters the need for appropriate viewer advisories and correct classification of programs rather than to target the occasional usage of vernacular language,” the latest decision said.

The two clips in the most recent case both involved celebrities whose music is played on CKOI making speeches in public settings, the council noted.

The first instance came shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, when afternoon hosts were discussing Madonna’s address to the recent Women’s March on Washington. The hosts aired and discussed a clip in which the pop star concluded her remarks with a profanity aimed at those who opposed the march.

Two months later, at 2:15 p.m. on March 25, a different afternoon host began discussing the rock group Green Day with a caller who had dialled in to request a song. When talk turned to a recent F-word-laden outburst from lead singer Armstrong, the host played an excerpt in which a variation of the word was heard three times.

The council ruled that neither instance breached Canada’s broadcast codes.

“First, the primary language of the program must be French,” the council wrote when laying out its criteria for use of the term. “Second, the use of the word must be infrequent; and third, the word cannot be used to insult or attack an individual or group. If a broadcast meets these three criteria, it is probable that the CBSC will not find a violation.”

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Gallery 7 Theatre presents Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Abbotsford troupe presents 100th production in its 28-year history

True North Troubadours pay tribute to Peter, Paul and Mary

Group performs at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford on March 22

Canadian comic Byron Bertram to perform in Abbotsford

Comedian preparing for taping of upcoming album Passport and Prozac

Woman wins appeal, gets workers’ comp from crash during commute

She was driving an employer-owned vehicle when she crashed on Hwy 1 in Abbotsford on her way to work

Gas prices spike in Lower Mainland

Two of B.C.’s major fuel suppliers are undergoing maintenance

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

National Arts Centre spotlights Indigenous and female artists in upcoming season

Other musical offerings include a salute to Canada’s Indigenous composers

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

Most Read