Broadcasting complaints | ACMA

Broadcasting complaints

Have you seen or heard something on TV or radio that you think breaches the rules?

These FAQs will help you figure out what’s allowed and how to complain if you think something on TV or radio breaches the rules. Use the links below to find information relating to your complaint.

Programs on TV and radio

Advertising on radio

Disclosure of commercial arrangements on radio

Scheduling of ads, too many ads or loudness of ads on TV

Content of ads

Gambling ads

Alcohol ads

Election and political matter

Tobacco ads and ads about therapeutic goods

Captioning

Community broadcasting

Australian and children’s television content (C and P)

Other broadcast issues

Complaints the ACMA cannot handle

Privacy

How do I complain about a program on TV or radio?

Most programming matters are covered by rules that are in codes of practice. These include things like accuracy and impartiality in news, disclosure of commercial arrangements in factual programs, distressing content and classification.

There is a different code of practice for each broadcasting sector, so check the relevant code that applies to the broadcaster that you wish to complain about.

How to complain about a TV or radio program

Complain to the broadcaster first­­this is because broadcasters have primary responsibility for programs they broadcast. It’s important to follow the right process if you want the broadcaster to consider your complaint.

If you are not satisfied with the response from the broadcaster, or have not heard back from the broadcaster after 60 days, you can complain to the ACMA:

  • When lodging your complaint with the ACMA, please provide a copy of the original complaint to the broadcaster, a copy of the broadcaster’s reply if one has been received, and any other relevant communication with the broadcaster.
  • You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au, or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230.

How do I complain about advertising on radio?

Ads on commercial radio must be presented in such a manner that a listener can identify them as advertising material.

There are FAQs on our website about advertising rules on radio and TV. You can also check the Commercial Radio Code of Practice.

How to complain about advertising on radio

Complain to the broadcaster first­­this is because broadcasters have primary responsibility for the material they broadcast. It’s important to follow the right process if you want the broadcaster to consider your complaint.

If you are not satisfied with the response from the broadcaster, or have not heard back from the broadcaster after 60 days, you can complain to the ACMA:

  • When lodging your complaint with the ACMA, provide a copy of the original complaint to the broadcaster, a copy of the broadcaster’s reply if one has been received, and any other relevant communication with the broadcaster.
  • You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au, or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230.

How do I complain about the disclosure of commercial arrangements on radio?

Commercial radio licensees that broadcast current affairs and talkback programs must disclose certain commercial agreements and other arrangements that have the potential to affect the content of such programs.

How to complain about the disclosure of commercial arrangements on radio

Complain directly to the ACMA if you think the disclosure standard has been breached.

You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230

How do I complain about the scheduling of an ad, that there are too many ads or the loudness of an ad on TV?

There are different rules for each broadcasting sector. There are rules about the placement of ads, how many ads are allowed each hour and the loudness of ads in the code of practice that applies to commercial free-to-air television. Other broadcasters also have rules that apply to the scheduling and amount of ads.

There are FAQs on our website about advertising rules on radio and TV. You can also check the relevant code that applies to the broadcaster that you wish to complain about.

How to complain about ads on TV

Complain to the broadcaster first­­this is because broadcasters have primary responsibility for the material they broadcast. It’s important to follow the right process if you want the broadcaster to consider your complaint.

If you are not satisfied with the response from the broadcaster, or have not heard back from the broadcaster after 60 days, you can complain to the ACMA:

  • When lodging your complaint with the ACMA, provide a copy of the original complaint to the broadcaster, a copy of the broadcaster’s reply if one has been received, and any other relevant communication with the broadcaster.
  • You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au, or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230.

How do I complain about the content of an ad?

The rules that apply to broadcasters generally only apply to the placement or amount of ads. There are rules about the content of gambling ads that appear during live sport on TV and radio.

The content of most ads is covered by the AANA (Australian Association of National Advertisers) Codes. For more information and how to complain, visit the Ad Standards website.

How do I complain about gambling advertising?

There are rules that apply to the content of gambling ads and when they can be shown.

There are specific rules that only apply during live sport on TV and radio, and other rules that apply during live sport streamed online.

See our gambling ads page for more information and how to complain.

How do I complain about alcohol ads?      

There are rules that apply to the content of alcohol ads and when they can be broadcast on TV and radio. See our alcohol ads page for more information and how to complain.

How do I complain about election and political matter?

There are rules that apply to political advertising during elections and at other times.

How to complain about election and political matter

You can complain directly to the ACMA if you think the rules about election and political matter have been breached on TV or radio.

You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230

How do I complain about tobacco or therapeutic goods ads?

Tobacco advertising is prohibited. There is also a requirement for advertisements for therapeutic goods to have approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

There are FAQs on our website about advertising rules on radio and TV.

How to complain about tobacco and therapeutic goods ads

If you want to complain about these types of ads on TV or radio, you can complain directly to the ACMA.

You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230

How do I complain about captioning?

See our captioning pages for more information about the rules that apply to captioning on TV and how to complain.

How do I complain about community broadcasting?

See our community broadcasting pages for more information about the rules that apply to community broadcasting on radio and TV and how to complain.

How do I complain about Australian and children’s television content (C and P)?

There are rules about how much Australian content must be shown on commercial free-to-air television. There are also rules to ensure commercial free-to-air broadcasters provide quality TV programming for young children as well as protecting them from potentially harmful content on television.  

Find out more about the Australian Content Standard and the Children’s Television Standards.

How to complain about Australian content

If you want to complain about a breach of these standards, you can complain directly to the ACMA.

You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230.

How do I complain about the broadcast of terrorism related content?

Open and subscription narrowcast television licensees are subject to anti-terrorism standards that prohibit the broadcast of terrorism related content and programming.

How to complain about the broadcast of terrorism related content

If you think the standards have been breached, you can complain directly to the ACMA.

You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230.

How do I complain about anti-siphoning?

There are rules that restrict what sports subscription television broadcasters can acquire the rights to televise.

How to complain about anti-siphoning

If you think these rules have been breached, you can complain directly to the ACMA.

You can submit your complaint to the ACMA using the ACMA complaint form, by email to broadcasting@acma.gov.au or by writing to us at PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230.

What complaints are not handled by the ACMA ?

There are issues associated with broadcasting that are the responsibility of other government agencies or industry bodies. Find out more about the complaints the ACMA cannot handle.

How is my privacy protected when I complain?

More information is available in the ACMA’s privacy policy.

Last updated: 17 December 2012