|code advice for complainants
VICTIMS OF DISCRIMINATION
The Press Complaints Commission’s remit is to investigate and seek to resolve complaints brought to it under a sixteen clause Code of Practice.
Individuals with concerns about discrimination in newspapers and magazines may be able to complain to the Commission under a number of clauses of the Code.
If an article mentioning you makes prejudicial, pejorative or irrelevant reference to aspects of your person, your complaint may be covered by Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Code. This states that:
“i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.”
If the article does not mention you directly – or if you have additional concerns about an article that does mention you – Clause 1 (Accuracy) may be applicable. The most relevant sections state that:
“i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted material including pictures.
iv) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.”
The remaining clauses of the Code may also be useful. These refer to methods of newsgathering, the privacy afforded to all members of society, and further provisions for the most vulnerable such as children, individuals in hospital, and those suffering from grief and shock.
Details of how to make a complaint – and other clauses of the Code that may be relevant – are available in separate literature or can be accessed here. The PCC has also issued a guidance note to editors on the subject of the reporting of refugees and asylum seekers, the contents of which may be of use (Click here).
Staff are always on hand to provide further information and advice where necessary. If you would like to discuss a possible complaint or press issue, contact the office on 020 7831 0022 within working hours or call – in the event of emergencies – our 24-hour helpline on 07659 152656. If you leave a message, a member of the complaints department will call you back as soon as possible.
Click here to download this document in Word Format.
<< Go Back
Copies of some of the guidance notes are now available in wallet size leaflets. If you would like to receive a hard copy of any or all of these leaflets please email email@example.com with your name and postal address.