As a broadcaster you are required to broadcast promos that publicise the procedure for making complaints (publicity notices). This ensures your audience knows they can make complaints about a programme if they think it has breached broadcasting standards. This is a legislative requirement from section 6(1)(ba) of the Broadcasting Act.
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Each publicity notice must be at least 15 seconds long.
We recommend including the following information:
- the requirement that formal complaints be made:
- in writing
- within 20 working days of the broadcast being complained about
- to the broadcaster (you) - except for privacy complaints and election programme complaints, which may be made directly to the BSA
- your contact details so that people know where to send their complaints (include your postal address, email address and where to find your online complaint form if you have one)
- the right to refer a complaint to the BSA if they are unhappy with the outcome of their complaint (or if it is a privacy or election programme complaint), eg: ‘If you are unhappy with the outcome you can refer your complaint to the BSA.’
- where to go for more information about the complaints process – your website address, or the BSA’s website address.
You have flexibility and creativity in how you convey this information to your audience. We are available to assist in the preparation of notices so please contact us if further guidance is required.
When to broadcast publicity notices
Publicity notices must be broadcast frequently enough so that each channel or station averages 1 notice per day for each day of broadcasting.
The times of day when publicity notices are broadcast has to be varied so that over the course of a year the publicity notices are broadcast across all programming times. This must include prime time and children’s programming times. The publicity notice must be broadcast on each channel operated by the broadcaster.
You will be asked to provide evidence of the scheduled days and times of each notice broadcast for the BSA’s reviews.
We review broadcasters’ publicity notices every two years to make sure you are complying with your obligations under the Act. We look at the content, duration and schedule on which notices are played.
Our review requires you to send us a copy of your notice and a schedule of when it was aired. You will need to keep a record of this information to send to us when we request it.
We do not approve notices in advance, however we are happy to provide advice on suitable wording. The BSA is here to support you to fulfil your obligations. If you are having difficulties meeting the requirements of the Act we can work with you to achieve compliance.
Information for audiences
Occasionally, it will be important for complainants to contact broadcasters during the broadcast of a programme (eg to provide information that may assist the broadcaster to immediately address a potentially harmful issue). For this reason, we recommend that, in addition to compliance with the above publicity notice requirements, broadcasters ensure they have clear contact details available for audiences to raise concerns while a programme is airing.