Complain

What we handle complaints about

We consider complaints about newspapers or magazines (and their websites) which are members of IPSO. To see if a publication is an IPSO member, you can check here, or call us for advice. We can only consider complaints which are made under the Editors’ Code.

We deal with complaints about editorial material in publications. This includes:

  • articles
  • images and videos
  • readers’ letters
  • user comments on websites which the publication has moderated
  • the behaviour of journalists.

Where else can I go for help?

 

Who can complain?

Anyone who is the subject of an article or has been affected by a journalist’s behaviour

Anyone who is the subject of an article or who has been affected by a journalist’s behaviour can make a complaint. You can ask someone to complain to us on your behalf, but we will need your permission for them to do so.

Anyone, in cases relating to accuracy

Any member of the public or any organisation can make a complaint under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code, if they are looking to correct a significant inaccuracy. However, before we can take your complaint forward, we must consider whether our investigation might affect someone else, or if we would need to involve other people to carry out an investigation properly. If so, we will write to you to let you know that we can’t take your complaint forward, and explain why.

Representative groups on behalf of others

Sometimes, a representative group can complain on behalf of individuals. To complain as a representative group we will ask you to explain which group you believe has been affected by the alleged breach of the Editors' Code, how you are representative of that group, how you believe the alleged breach is significant and how you believe the public interest would be served by considering the complaint. Our Complaints Committee will then decide whether to take forward your complaint.

Is there a time limit?

It is always best to make your complaint to us as soon as possible. Sometimes it is harder for publications or us to investigate complaints if too much time has passed. Normally, you will need to make a complaint within four months of the date an article was published, or of the date of the journalist’s behaviour. If you are complaining about an online article, we may be able to investigate your complaint up to 12 months after the article was published, but this depends on the circumstances.

Sending us your complaint

We can accept complaints in writing either through our online form, by email or by post. If you need assistance you can contact us.

With your complaint, you should:

  • send us a copy of or link to the article you are complaining about (if there is one)
  • tell us which clauses of the Editors' Code you think have been broken, and explain why you think they have been broken, and
  • send us copies of any letters or emails about your complaint that you have sent to the newspaper or magazine, or they have sent to you.

Contacting the publication

We will normally pass your complaint to the publication for them to try to resolve it with you before we begin our investigation. We can also help to mediate between you and the newspaper to get a satisfactory outcome for you. To do this, we will send any information you give us, including your contact details, to the publication which you are complaining about.

Even if we don’t think that the issue you are complaining about has broken the Code, we will still send a copy of your complaint and our response to the publication, as well as your contact details. We do this so that publications know that you have concerns about something. In some cases, the publication might contact you directly and try to do something about your concerns. If you are worried about us passing on your contact details, you should let us know.

Confidentiality 

As part of our confidentiality procedures, newspapers or magazines are not allowed to publish any information which they receive as part of a complaint. As the person making the complaint, you are also not allowed to publish any information or correspondence which you receive from the publication.

Further help

If you need any advice about how to make a complaint, you can contact us

Find out more about our complaints process
Got a question? The answer could be in our complaints FAQs