School bus drivers in Quebec City are being asked to use "discretion" when tuning into the controversial area radio stations known by their critics as radio poubelle, or trash radio.
The La Capitale school board, responsible for 28,000 students in 60 schools around Quebec City, issued instructions to its bus drivers to consider the effect on children when listening to talk radio that may contain "language or subject matter less suitable for their young age."
There are several private talk radio stations in the Quebec City area known for courting controversy and expressing conservative-populist views.
Following last week's shooting at a Quebec City mosque, which left six people dead, many criticized the radio stations for fostering a climate of suspicion towards the city's Muslim population.
"A certain time comes when you have to call out the managers, the owners, the families of owners and above all the shareholders of the companies who create and sell hateful products," Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said last week in comments widely interpreted as being directed at the so-called radio poubelle stations.
Backtrack from initial position
The school board's instructions, released Tuesday, represent a loosening of its initial position. On Friday, the school board told drivers that only music stations would be allowed following a complaint from a parent.
That move was welcomed by some leaders in the Muslim community. Imam Mohamed El Hafid said that certain radio stations in Quebec contributed to the climate of mistrust against immigrants and Muslims in particular.
But the school board's initial decision was criticized by radio personalities. CHOI Radio X morning host Dominic Maurais called the move an act of "censorship."
The La Capitale school board declined an interview request.