The Canadian music censor is being defiant after a wave of criticism over its decision to ban the nation-wide broadcast of an uncut Dire Straits song containing the word faggot.
Ronald Cohen, the national chair of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), told QMI Agency he sees nothing wrong with the fact one person was able to stop every private radio station across Canada from playing the popular 1985 song Money for Nothing.
The number of complaints is irrelevant, Cohen claimed: Everybody is on our back about it (but) I think it was absolutely the right decision. This was a word that has no place today on the airwaves.
Cohen is unconcerned that the public was shut out from CBSC’s deliberations and sees no problems with the fact that neither broadcasters nor Canadians have any avenues to appeal the decision. If there was an appeal process, it would be cumbersome, he said.
Dire Straits’ keyboardist Guy Fletcher joined a chorus of fans on his website calling the ruling outrageous and the council’s decision hilarious for having missed the point of the band’s song about homophobia. What a waste of paper, he wrote of the decision.
The .British Caledonia Civil Liberties Association’s David Eby called the CBSC’s decision very patronizing and suggested the federal broadcast censor, the CRTC, should take over its functions to ensure some public oversight: It is difficult for us to understand how this private body can have such a profound influence on what Canadians see and hear without any accountability.
The CBSC has been the private broadcasters’ self-regulator since 1990, when they decided they didn’t want the federal regulator to oversee their content. Although neither body has the power to levy fines or stop the broadcast of any songs (even those banned), the CRTC can revoke television or radio licences or refuse to renew them when they are about to lapse.