Many thanks to Kym Masera Taborn for the transcript

The London Free Press

October 23, 1999,


The New PL has been ordered to toughen up its advisory about violence on the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), the industry's self-regulator, made the ruling after a complaint from a London father of a 10-year-old boy.

But the father, Fred Janzen, says he is only "marginally impressed" by the council's decision.

His letter of complaint had also attacked the sexual content of two episodes of Xena and Hercules: The Legendary Journey that first aired in February. He said the shows contained pornographic and sado-masochistic images and shouldn't be aired on Sunday afternoons.

The CBSC dismissed those points.

Janzen voiced his displeasure by calling for a bit of Xena -like action.

He criticized the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for allowing the industry to regulate its own codes of conduct, saying, "It's just about impossible to get your complaint through to the CRTC, so the CRTC needs overhauling, a good swift kick in the ass or in the head."

The CBSC said fights on the shows were "more acrobatic than violent" and the sex "more suggestive than explicit."

It said the New PL had rated the shows correctly as PG for parental guidance. And the council said the Sunday afternoon scheduling was acceptable.

But the council said the "slightly more realistic" violence of the Xena episode needs a viewer advisory if it is shown any day before 9 p.m. That advisory, required by the industry's code on TV violence, warns that a show contains scenes of violence not suitable for children.

New PL program director Don Mumford said he will go beyond the ruling and put the warning on all Xena episodes, not just the one involved in the complaint. Other stations owned by same parent company as the New PL will do the same, he said.

"We would opt to err on the side of caution," Mumford said.

CBSC chief Ron Cohen said the ruling does not apply to other stations and broadcasters. But, he added, "It would be a clear indication of what the council's view was."

Mumford said he doesn't agree with the need for a warning -- "if I did I would have put it on when we aired it" -- but he defended the CBSC's work.

"These are very difficult issues to adjudicate," he said. "They're trying to make decisions for the good of the entire population as well as the broadcaster."

The New PL also has to air a CBSC announcement that the station breached the code on violence -- a standard procedure with CBSC decisions.

Despite the fact the shows upset his son, Janzen said he and his boy watched them again two weeks ago when they were at someone else's house. "I can't always control everything my son does," he said.

GRAPHIC: photo Londoner Fred Janzen complained scenes from Xena: Warrior Princess contained masochistic and pornographic images.

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