F-word can go uncensored on radio in Canada – if it’s in French
While it could be argued that the curse word is offensive in any language, the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) disagrees. In a ruling on Wednesday, it declared that the word is much less of a problem when said in French.
"Although the CBSC has previously said that the f-word should not be broadcast on radio during daytime or early evening hours, it established in a previous decision regarding the use of the word in a French-language television program, that using the word 'f---' in French does not have the same vulgar connotation as it does in English," the council wrote in its decision.
The body re-printed its previous ruling regarding the use of the f-word in a television program, which explained that "language is evolutionary and reflects current society." However, it stressed that there are still a couple of rules involved when it comes to the F-word – it must be used infrequently and not as an insult towards any particular person.
The CBSC's decision came after complaints were received about radio station CKOI-FM, which allowed the word "f**k" to be aired twice this year. The first instance featured Madonna saying it in a speech at the Women's March on the day after US President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
"And to our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything…f**k you," the pop sensation said. The hosts then repeated the word several times in French, discussing the audio excerpt that had been broadcast in the original English.
After one of the show’s listeners complained, the radio station said it acknowledged that “some sensible ears may be offended by that often-called 'four letter word.' However, in French culture, this word doesn't arouse much reaction. We would even put forward that this English 'dirty' word is now, although unfortunately, part of the common French spoken language."
In the second instance, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was heard saying it during a concert. "What the f**k?! I'm not f**king Justin Bieber, you motherf**kers!" he said.
The CBSC sided with the radio station in both cases. It stated that it did not violate the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics, which prohibits the broadcast of "unduly coarse or offensive language."
Created in 1990, the CBSC was developed by private broadcasters to enforce codes of standards established within the industry. The body currently administers five codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news, and journalistic independence.