General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsScenes of suicide require 13+ classification, says CBSC

Scenes of suicide require 13+ classification, says CBSC

A Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) panel has ruled that themes of murder, suicide and domestic violence require a certain level of viewer maturity, meaning that a 13+ classification would have been more appropriate on two episodes of French-language legal drama, Indéfendable, broadcast on TVA.

Indéfendable, which airs at 7:30 p.m. on TVA’s schedule, centres on a law firm of criminal lawyers and their clients. The CBSC received complaints about two episodes that included scenes of suicide, with the viewer concerned the scenes were too detailed and did not follow recommendations from suicide prevention organizations. One of the episodes also contained scenes of domestic violence. TVA, which had rated both episodes appropriate for viewers, aged 8+, noted that the scenes were relevant to the characters’ storylines and that it usually displays information about suicide prevention resources at the end of such programming, though it was inadvertently absent on one of the two episodes examined by the CBSC. 

In its decision, the CBSC concluded that scenes of suicide and domestic violence did not constitute gratuitous violence or promote violence under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Violence Code, but the episodes should have been rated 13+ instead of 8+ under the Quebec classification system.

The CBSC’s French-Language Panel acknowledged that the scenes “could be difficult to watch,” but found they were relevant to the development of the plot and characters, and demonstrated the negative effects of the violence. The CBSC also recognized the network’s efforts to provide contact information for relevant resources at the end of episodes, even though it is not mandatory under the code.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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