Instructions for making a complaint
Draw up your complaint carefully to facilitate its processing. Read the instructions before you submit your complaint.
Anyone can make a complaint to the Council for Mass Media concerning material published by a medium. The process is fast, impartial and free of any charge. If you complain about the actions of the media, the complaint should concern a breach of good professional practice. If you plan on complaining about a restriction of the freedom of speech, you should first look at the statements issued by the Council regarding the restriction of the freedom of speech.
First make sure whether the media in question falls within the sphere of self-regulation of the Council for Mass Media. We will dismiss complaints that fall outside of our jurisdiction. Make your complaint in time, since the Council will not process any complaint concerning an article that was published more than three months ago, unless there is a special reason. This limitation also applies to online publications.
Read the Guidelines for Journalists and detail the section you think the media has breached. If you are complaining about a material error, contact the media first, for example, the editor, and request that a correction be made. If you are complaining on behalf of another person or, for example, an association, attach the written consent of the concerned party to your complaint. The Council for Mass Media may require consent if the complaint concerns, for example, extremely negative publicity or violation of privacy. Attach a copy of the article to which your complaint refers as well as any correspondence with the media in question. A link to an online article is not sufficient if you are submitting a complaint about a printed article. If your complaint concerns a radio or television programme, please send a link or specify the broadcast time and channel. The Council for Mass Media generally does not process any versions of the article that are not clearly specified in the complaint.
The recommended maximum length of the complaint is 5,000 characters or three pages of text. A well-written complaint expresses concisely and correctly the way in which the complainant considers the article to be in breach of the Guidelines for Journalists. The complainant must pledge that they are not seeking a decision from the Council for Mass Media for the purposes of a trial. Your complaint will either be processed by the Council or dismissed by decision of the chairman of the Council. Each complainant will receive a written response to their complaint. It will be delivered by email if you have submitted your email address in your complaint.
The name of the complainant will not be published on the Council’s website, but it will not specifically be kept confidential. The name will be known by the media that the complaint concerns. If the case concerns sensitive material, the chairman may limit, upon a justified request, the publication of the material subject to the complaint and the name of the complainant. The material subject to the complaint will be archived and be available for, for example, research purposes. More information about the processing of personal data in the Council for Mass Media can be found here.
If you feel that you cannot make a complaint on the basis of these instructions or if you want to know more about the interpretation of the Guidelines for Journalists, you can read the decisions made by the Council, send your question by email to [email protected] or call the telephone counselling number +358 (0)9 135 7494 and leave a contact request.