CRTC erred in its decision on Radio-Canada N-word broadcast, court finds

2023-06-09 16:46:24  • 3 mins

A federal court has ruled that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) erred in its decision penalizing Socit Radio-Canada (SRC) for broadcasting the N-word.

In a unanimous decision released Thursday,the Federal Court of Appeal saidthatthe broadcast regulatormade several mistakeswhen it ruled against SRC in response to a complaint. In particular, the court ruled, the CRTCcited sectionsof the Broadcasting Act which do not give it the authority to regulate speech on the airwaves.

In its ruling, the court agreed with arguments put forward by SRC, the French-language serviceof Canada's public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada, and the attorney general of Canada.

"The CRTC overstepped its jurisdiction by sanctioning the SRC on the sole basis that the content broadcast on the air was, in its opinion, inconsistent with the Canadian broadcasting policy," Federal Court of Appeal Chief Justice Marc Noel wrote in his decision.

At the centre of the case is an Aug, 17, 2020 segment on the radioshowLe 1518. A segment on the show discussed a petition to fire a Concordia University professor who used the N-word in class. The professor was quoting the title of a book by journalistPierre Vallires.

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