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Complain about a program on TV or radio

You can complain about the content of a TV or radio program you see or hear.

All TV and radio broadcasters have to follow codes of practice. The codes apply to all broadcasters including the ABC and SBS and subscription TV.

What you can complain to the broadcaster about

You can complain about programs on:

  • commercial free-to-air TV
  • commercial radio
  • subscription TV or radio
  • community TV or radio
  • ABC TV or radio
  • SBS TV or radio
  • narrowcasting TV or radio services

These may cover topics such as:

  • accuracy and neutrality in news
  • disclosing any commercial arrangements in factual programs
  • distressing content
  • the classification of programs, in particular children’s programs with a C or P rating

How to complain to the broadcaster

When you complain, we recommend you:

  • clearly identify what you are complaining about and why
  • provide details such as the date, time and program name
  • include your name and contact details
  • keep a record of the complaint and when you send it

Complaints to commercial television stations must be made within 30 days of the broadcast. They must be made either:

You should identify what was broadcast (including the program name, date, time and channel), the town or city in Australia you were in when you saw the broadcast, the nature of your complaint and your name and contact details.

If you are posting a complaint to a station, you may wish to send it registered mail, in order to ensure the station receives it.

Complaints to subscription services can be made:

  • by telephone
  • in writing (including email)

Your complaint must identify what was broadcast (including the program name, date and time), the nature of your complaint, and your name and contact details.

Keep a dated copy of any correspondence between you and the broadcaster.

If your complaint is about a Foxtel channel or service, you can access more information about ways to complain by searching the term ‘complaints’ at www.foxtel.com.au.

Complaints to commercial radio stations must contain a clear assertion that the station has broadcast matter which, in your opinion, breaches the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice 2015.

Complaints to commercial radio stations must be made within 30 days of the broadcast, otherwise the station does not have to respond. Complaints must be made:

  • by letter
  • via an online electronic complaint form—most stations have a complaint form available on their website

Complaints about a radio or TV program broadcast by an ABC service can be made:

Complaints should be made within 6 weeks of the broadcast and contain your name and contact information. Your should include the name of the program and the TV or radio service it was broadcast on, the date of the broadcast and the nature of your complaint, including the relevant code provision.

The ABC website has more information.

Complaints about a radio or television program broadcast by an SBS service can be made:

Complaints should be made within 6 weeks of the broadcast and contain your name and contact information. You should include the name of the program and TV or radio service it was broadcast on, your location when you saw or heard the material, the date of the broadcast and the nature of your complaint, including the relevant code provision, if possible.

The SBS website has more information.

Complaints should contain your name and contact information. Your should include the name of the program, the date and time of the broadcast, your location when you heard the material and the nature of your complaint, including the relevant code provision, if possible.

Complaints can be made:

  • by phone
  • by mail
  • via email
  • via the licensee’s website (if available)

Make sure you keep a dated copy of any correspondence between you and the narrowcaster.

What to do if you are still not satisfied

You can complain to us if:

  • the broadcaster responds but you are not satisfied with the response
  • you do not hear back from the broadcaster within 60 days

When you complain to us, we will need:

  • a copy of your original complaint to the broadcaster (if relevant)
  • a copy of the broadcaster’s reply (if relevant)
  • any other relevant communication with the broadcaster

You can submit your complaint in 1 of 3 ways:

What you can complain to us about

You can complain to us about issues covered by a standard or the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. These cover topics like:

How to complain to us

You can submit your complaint in 1 of 3 ways:

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