This page provides preliminary information for people who are thinking about complaint to News Cop about material published.

What can be complained about?

Complaints may relate to news reports, articles, editorials, images, and other published material. News Cop does not consider complaints about advertising material, except where the complaint is that the material is not clearly identifiable as advertising.

Where it is more appropriate for a complaint to be dealt with by another organisation, News Cop will suggest that the complainant raises the matter with that organisation. This may occur where, for example, the complaint relates to advertising, or to broadcasts on radio or television.

Who can complain?

In general, any person may lodge a complaint about published material.

Where a complainant is not personally identified or directly affected by the published material, the complaint may be considered as a “secondary complaint” and some different procedures may apply.

Time limits

Complaints normally should be made within thirty days of the first publication of the relevant material. Where appropriate, a complaint can be made with a request that News Cop delays consideration of it until a specified event (e.g. recovery from serious illness).

Where the complaint is lodged out of time, the complainant must seek approval for consideration, on the basis of one or more of the following:

  • There was a reasonable justification for the complainant not having previously noticed the material; or
  • The complaint involves a number of articles over a lengthy period; or
  • There were other good grounds for delaying submission of a complaint.

Legal proceedings

News Cop does not require complainants to undertake that they will not commence legal proceedings in relation to the material about which they are complaining. However, they must tell News Cop if they have done so or may do so.

If proceedings have actually been commenced, consideration of the complaint by News Cop should not proceed unless there are special circumstances which mean that a delay would be unfairly detrimental to the complainant.

How can a complaint be made?

Complaints should be made by completing the News Cop Complaint Form online. See our Complaint Forms page to complete this.

It is difficult or impossible for a complainant to make a written complaint by using the online complaint form, they may contact News Cop for advice or assistance.

News Cop’s complaints process is intended to be as informal, timely, and economical as possible. Complaints must be made and pursued by complainants or their immediate family unless there are exceptional circumstances. Complainants and publications are not normally permitted to communicate with News Cop through lawyers.

Complainants must indicate when making a complaint if they wish some details to be kept confidential from the publication or not to be published in any News Cop adjudication on the matter. News Cop will then explain circumstances in which this may be possible, and the complainant can decide whether to proceed with the complaint.