Complaints about advertisements | ACMA

Complaints about advertisements

You can complain directly to the ACMA if you think a broadcaster (other than the ABC or SBS) has broken the following rules:

  1. the ban on broadcasting tobacco advertisements

  2. the requirement for advertisements for therapeutic goods to have approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration

  3. the rules governing the broadcast of political advertisements

  4. the Children’s Television Standards governing the amount and content of advertisements during designated children’s (C) viewing periods on commercial TV

  5. the Australian content standard governing the amount of foreign-produced advertising that may be broadcast on commercial TV

  6. the rules in the commercial radio disclosure standards, eg the requirements to disclose sponsorship or commercial agreements affecting current affairs or talkback commercial radio

  7. the ban on advertisements on community radio and TV

  8. the prohibition on the broadcast of interactive gambling service advertisements in Australia

You can also make a code complaint about aspects of advertisements. (A code complaint is one which the broadcaster is obliged to respond to, and which can be referred to the ACMA if the complainant is dissatisfied with the response or does not receive a response within 60 days.)

You can make a code complaint to commercial (free-to-air) TV stations about:

  1. placement of advertisements

  2. the amount of non-program matter (including advertisements) scheduled per hour

  3. loudness of advertisements in relation to adjacent programming

  4. disclosure of commercial arrangements, ie agreements or arrangements under which products or services are endorsed or featured in programs in exchange for payment

You can make a code complaint to commercial radio stations about:

  1. the content of advertisements, including matters such as the depiction of violence, racial vilification, decency and language

  2. advertising being distinguishable from program content

You can make a code complaint to SBS about:

  1. the placement of advertisements 

  2. hourly limits on advertisements

You can make code complaints about:

  1. the placement of advertisements

  2. the content of locally produced advertisements

The ACMA Privacy Policy can be accessed here


You can also complain to the following agencies which regulate advertisements:

  1. Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) about the portrayal of sex/sexuality/nudity, portrayal of people, language, violence and health and safety in advertisements, including those broadcast on radio and TV. You can also complain to the ASB about motor vehicle and alcohol advertisements and advertising to children.

  2. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or state Departments or Offices of Fair Trading if your concern is about truth and accuracy in advertisements.

Last updated: 09 February 2016