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Viewer Feedback & Complaints

The following section describes the complaints process under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (the Code).

For more information about the Code of Practice, click here.

The Code regulates program content on commercial free-to-air television, including:
program classification;
•  accuracy, fairness and respect for privacy in news and current affairs;
•  non-program matter on television; and
placement of commercials and program promotions.

Complaints about something you have seen on the ABC, SBS or pay TV
The ABC, SBS and pay TV are covered by their own codes of practice. Any feedback concerning programming or advertising on these networks needs to be referred directly to the relevant station.

Complaints about advertising
Complaints about the content of advertising (including commercials, advertorials, or in-program product placement) need be directed to the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Complaints about programming and scheduling
Commercial free-to-air networks value audience feedback as an important way of keeping in touch with community opinion. If your feedback concerns a particular programming matter not covered by the Code, such as general scheduling queries or general feedback you should contact the relevant station. Click here for contact details for each of the commercial free-to-air television stations.

Complaints about captioning
Feedback or complaints about captioning can be made directly to the network concerned, or using the Electronic Lodgement System.
Complaints under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice

The Code of Practice sets out a formal complaints process for matters covered by the Code. If you believe a station has acted contrary to the Code of Practice you should follow the steps below. If you would like more information about the complaints process please see Section 7 of the Code of Practice.

When making a complaint you do not need to indicate which section of the Code is relevant but you do need to provide the broadcaster with enough specific information about the issue to allow them to properly respond.

You can then either:
lodge your Code Complaint via the Electronic Lodgement System; or
b) Write a letter (send via post. It is advisable that complaints sent via post use Registered Mail) to the relevant station.

Complaints made under the Code of Practice must be received within 30 days of the broadcast.

What information should your complaint include?
Your complaint should include the following information:
Your name, address and telephone number
•  The name of the program; or the name of the brand/product being advertised; or the name of the program being promoted
•  The station on which you saw or heard the program or advertisement or promotion
The date and time you saw or heard it
Reasons for your concerns

When should you expect to receive a reply?
The Code requires a station to respond to you within 30 working days of receiving a complaint about a matter covered by the Code of Practice.

You may not receive a response to your complaint if it:
Is frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the Code process;
•  Is offensive or vulgar;
•  Is the second or later complaint in a series of complaints from an individual person about a program or series and does not raise new or distinct issues; or
If your complaint expressly states that a response is not required.

Under the Code, a broadcaster is not required to respond to these complaints.

What can you do if you don’t receive a reply or you do not consider the reply to be adequate?
If the station has not written back to you within 60 days or you do not consider the response to be adequate, you may send your complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The ACMA will need a copy of your original complaint to the station, as well as a copy of the station’s reply.

Documents for download

Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice - Effective 1 December 2015
The content of free-to-air commercial television is regulated under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice which has been developed by Free TV Australia drawing on community consultation and registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

    Code of Practice (2018)
    Overview of the Code of Practice: Fact Sheet
    Complaints Process: Fact Sheet

Loudness in Advertisements
Broadcasters are aware that community concern exists in relation to the perceived loudness of advertisements compared with adjacent programs. For more information click here or for a copy of the relevant Operational Practice (OP 48) refer below.
    Related PDF document