CRTC seeks review of 'Money for Nothing' ban
In the wake of "strong public reaction," Canada's broadcast regulator is asking for a review of the recent ban on Dire Straits' mid-80s hit song "Money for Nothing."
In a letter sent to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) on Friday, the CRTC said it has received more than 250 letters since the ban was announced on Jan. 12.
"Given the exceptional nature of this situation, the Commission has asked the CBSC to appoint a panel with a national composition to review the complaints," CRTC Secretary General Robert Morin wrote in the letter sent to the Standards Council Chair Ronald Cohen and published online.
In his request, Morin suggests the CBSC consider the age and origin of the 1985 Grammy-award winning pop hit, as well as its intended message.
The CBSC's Atlantic Panel weighed in after a classic-rock radio station listener in St. John's complained that the song's unedited lyrics made repeated use of an anti-gay slur.
In its decision, the panel said the unedited version of the song contravenes the human rights clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code and should be banned from the airwaves.
In his letter, Morin said that decision has not only outraged members of the public, it has led to confusion "that it was the Commission, and not the CBSC, that determined that the version of the Dire Straits song containing the contested derogatory word was inappropriate for radio airplay.
"The volume of letters and perceived overlap of responsibilities between the commission and the CBSC has created uncertainty for the public and for radio stations requiring information on the continued appropriateness of playing that version of the song."
Unlike the CRTC, which regulates the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications industry, the CBSC is a non-governmental association that represents private radio and TV stations across the country.
In the days since the ban was announced, the story has grabbed headlines in Canada and around the world. Several radio stations have also registered their protest in marathon broadcasts of the offending version.