MTV Canada chastised for explicit b'cast

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TORONTO -- Canada's TV censor said Monday that MTV Canada breached industry codes by airing an explicit TV show during daytime hours.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that an April 16, 2006, episode of MTV Live that was broadcast at 8 a.m. was too sexually explicit for a morning time slot.

The offending episode, which included segments on a virtual sex machine and an online role-playing sex game, led one viewer to file a formal complaint with the CBSC.

"It was the creepiest, most distasteful thing I've ever seen on television! This was cable TV, Easter Monday at 8:30 a.m.!," the viewer wrote. The viewer was particularly concerned about a segment on a virtual sex machine, which he described as "indecent" and "distasteful."

In a written reply, MTV Canada said it regretted causing offense but defended its talk show as "an innovative, interactive television experience that generates healthy debates about a wide range of topics."

After the complainant rejected that overture, the CBSC weighed in, ruling that the MTV Live episode breached an industry code of ethics, holding that sexually explicit content should not air before the industry-established watershed hour of 9 p.m.

"It goes without saying that there is no mathematical formula that can be applied to determine whether sexual content is exclusively intended for adult audiences," the TV censors argue in their ruling.

But the CBSC referees said TV programming featuring nudity and sexual activity is considered adult fare in Canada, as is explicit "dialogue, discussion or descriptions" of sex.

The CBSC also said that MTV Canada failed to air viewer advisories before airing the program.

MTV Canada is required to air the CBSC's decision in primetime.
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