Anyone can complain to us about a significant inaccuracy which has been published on a general point of fact (under Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code).
We can take forward complaints under Clauses 2–16 of the Code from anyone directly affected by editorial material or a journalist’s behaviour (or, with their permission, a representative like a family member, solicitor, or trusted friend). Complaints made under these clauses by people with no connection to a possible breach of the Editors' Code are known as 'third party' complaints and our regulations do not allow us to take these forward. You can find out more about why, in this blog.
We understand that many members of the public who make complaints about stories that do not directly concern them do so because they want to protect the subject of the story in question and feel that we all benefit from having a press that is accountable and upholds the standards set out in the Editors' Code. While these complaints are not taken forward through the complaints process, they are fed into the work of our Standards team, who perform wider monitoring of the media landscape. We also make direct contacts to relevant agencies when we have reason to believe that there are concerns about press activity, for example at the scene of a major incident.
Our regulations have a special mechanism for recognising the voices of others who may be affected by coverage that potentially breaches the Code known as a representative group complaint.