Make a complaint

What can I complain about?

You can make a complaint about any newspaper or magazine which is regulated by IPSO. You must make a complaint under the Editors' Code of Practice. You can complain about editorial material in print or online including:

  • articles
  • images (including video)
  • audio material on newspaper and magazine websites
  • readers' letters
  • edited or moderated reader comments on newspaper and magazine websites.

You can also complain about the behaviour of journalists including:

  • refusing requests to stop taking photographs or asking questions
  • using hidden cameras or recording devices to obtain material
  • failing to be sensitive when dealing with cases involving grief and shock
  • failing to obtain the proper consent before speaking to children or individuals in hospital or similar institutions.

Is there a time limit?

You must complain within four months of the publication of the article or behaviour taking place. IPSO may be able to take a complaint about an article which remains accessible on a newspaper's website within 12 months of publication.

Is there anything IPSO cannot take complaints about?

  • Publications which are not members of IPSO
  • Legal or contractual matters or on anything which is already the subject of legal proceedings
  • Concerns about taste and decency – these should be directed to the editor of the individual publication
  • Online material which is not on newspaper or magazine websites
  • Complaints about the delivery of newspapers and magazines – contact your newsagent or the publisher
  • Complaints about TV and radio – contact Ofcom
  • Complaints about the BBC contact BBC Complaints
  • Complaints about advertising – contact the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
  • Complaints about books – contact the publisher of the book.

Who can complain?

Accuracy (Clause 1 of the Editors' Code)

Anyone can complain about a significant inaccuracy which has been published on a general point of fact under Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code. Where an inaccuracy relates to a specific individual or organisation, IPSO may be able to take forward a complaint from a third party but will need to consider the individual or group directly affected:

  • Can IPSO properly investigate the factual position?
  • Is the material in dispute in the public domain?
  • Has the person/people directly affected complained and are they likely to complain on their own behalf? If not, what is the likelihood that they would cooperate with IPSO?
  • What is the likely impact of a complaint on the person/people directly affected?
  • Would there be a legal difficulty in publishing any findings?

Other clauses of the Editors' Code

Where a complaint relates to another issue under the Editors’ Code or the alleged inaccuracy is not on a general point of fact, IPSO can take forward a complaint from anyone directly affected by the article or journalistic conduct or their authorised representative.

You can also complain as a representative group and will be asked 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
  • how you believe the public interest would be served by IPSO considering the complaint.

The Complaints Committee will then decide whether to consider the complaint further.

How can I complain?

You must submit your complaint using the online complaints form or in writing. If you require advice you can contact IPSO via telephone.

How will my complaint be dealt with?

View IPSO's complaints process to find out how your complaint will be dealt with and what the potential outcomes might be.