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Making Waves

By Ross Kentner

Remember that famous judgement from Solomon to determine which woman was the real mother? One baby suffocated in bed and both mothers claimed the live baby. Solomon ordered the child divided into two halves at which point the real mother cried for it to be spared.

You don+?G??G??t find jurisprudence of that calibre anymore, but the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is splitting hairs the way Solomon did babies! The Council found that Montreal+?G??G??s CJMF-FM did not break the Canadian Association of Broadcasters+?G??G?? Code of Ethics when it encouraged listeners to be spotted driving while using their cell phone, an act which is now illegal in Quebec. That+?G??G??s because the prize was a rebate on a Bluetooth hands-free cell phone device, or the device itself.

A listener complained that the contest encouraged people to break the law. The radio station claimed it was encouraging people to do the right thing, namely, to use a hands-free device if talking on a cell phone while driving.

The Code of Ethics calls for care to ensure that broadcast promotions are not potentially dangerous. If I read the decision correctly, the panel said it wasn+?G??G??t a big prize, so people were unlikely to break the law for a chance to win. Huh?

To its credit, CJMF responded that the advertisement for this promotion "caused some confusion." I guess! The Standards Council picked up on that comment and said the station really ought to have chosen another way to qualify listeners for the contest. All of which calls to mind that old adage+?G??-?something or other baffles brains. Still applies, don+?G??G??t you think?


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