News

Panel rules comments didn't break code

BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS

Bruce Allen may have offended a lot of Sikhs and Muslims, but the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council said the CKNW commentator didn't break Canadian broadcasting's code of ethics.

A six-person panel's split decision, dated Nov. 27, 2007, was finally released yesterday on Allen's Sept. 13, 2007 Reality Check editorial. Allen complained about immigrants unhappy with rules on religious headgear. He concluded "if you don't like the rules, hit it. We don't need you here. You have another place to go; it's called home. See ya."

The adjudicators who would not uphold the complaint found statements that were "bullying, ignorant and offensive," but they did not deem it to be improper or unfair. The adjudicators who voted to uphold the complaint said Allen's "us and them" commentary included "incorrect and divisive" statements in breach of the ethics code.

The panel said CKNW took "extraordinary steps" to respond to public complaints by opening its airwaves "to comments and criticisms" about Allen.

The panel singled out the Christy Clark Show in which the former B.C. government cabinet minister debated Allen, who is best known as manager of rocker Bryan Adams. "Clark provided strong balance on the challenged editorial, within a single program," said the decision.