Saturday, October 16, 2010

Making a complaint about a newspaper: Know Your Rights

According to our constitution, Ireland has a free press. This means that the Government should not censor or control the articles or stories the press choose to print. Regrettably, this is not always the practice in our country. There are professional standards and behaviors that the print media must comply with. These professional standards and behaviors are set out in a Code of Practice for Newspapers and Periodicals and enforced by the Office of the Press Ombudsman and the Press Council of Ireland. It is up to you to contact the Press Ombudsman if you have been directly and personally affected by a breach of the Code of Practice.

Code of Practice can be found here;
You can make a complaint to the Press Ombudsman about any article you read in any Irish newspaper (including Irish editions of UK newspapers) or Irish magazine that you feel breaches the code. This applies to national, provincial and regional newspapers. You can also make a complaint about the behaviour of a journalist which you feel breaches the code.

The Press Ombudsman can only deal with complaints about articles that are published or behaviour that occurs after 1 January 2008 and where you lodge your complaint within 3 months of the publication or incident.

To make a complaint, the article or behaviour must be in breach of the professional standards and behaviours set out in the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Periodicals. In addition, you must be directly affected by and involved in the article or behavior in question. The Press Ombudsman will not deal with the complaint if legal proceedings have been initiated

You must first make your complaint to the editor of the newspaper or magazine in question, explaining why you think the code has been breached. If you do not get a response within a reasonable amount of time (about 2 weeks) or if you are not happy with the response, you can make a complaint to the Press Ombudsman.
You must lodge your complaint with the Press Ombudsman within 3 months of the date of publication of the article or occurrence of the incident.
Your complaint should include;
Your contact details.

A summary of your complaint, indicating which part(s) of the Code of Practice you feel has been breached and why.
A dated cutting of the article if the complaint is about an article. If you are making your complaint by email or on-line, you must send a hard copy of the article within 7 days or as an attachment (or link) to the email.
Copies of any correspondence between you and the editor of the newspaper or magazine.

Office of the Press Ombudsman
1, 2 & 3 Westmoreland Street
Dublin 2
Locall:1890 208 080
Fax:(01) 674 0046

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