CBC rebuked again for Obama assassination joke

Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:36pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's public broadcaster broke television regulations when it aired a New Year's Eve skit that joked about the possible assassination of U.S. President Barack Obama, the country's broadcasting regulator said on Monday.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission agreed with a industry-panel report which in May also found the skit inappropriate. The show was aired by the French language network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

"We expect the CBC to apologize to its viewers and implement mechanisms to prevent such an unfortunate situation from occurring again in the future," CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said in a statement.

In one segment of the "Bye Bye 2008" comedy program, two hosts discussed Obama's election in November 2008. Obama, who took office in January, is the first black U.S. president.

"We're not racists. It will be good to have a Negro in the White House. It will be practical. Black on white, it will be easier to shoot him," one of the show's hosts remarked.

The show also featured an interview with an actor pretending to be Obama. The host said, "The blacks, you all look alike," and then warned viewers to hide their purses.

The show generated more than 200 complaints. The producers of the show denied the skits had been racist, saying they had meant to mock the characters making the offensive remarks.

(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Alan Elsner)

 
<p>A sign is seen at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation building in Toronto, March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>