You must send your formal complaint to the broadcaster in the first instance. This gives the broadcaster an opportunity to answer your complaint first – you might be satisfied with their answer and decide not to go any further with the complaint.
There are two exceptions to the rule that complaints must go to the broadcaster first – privacy complaints (on their own) and election programme complaints, both of which come direct to the BSA:
How to make a Privacy Complaint
Formal complaints must be in writing and need to be lodged with the broadcaster within 20 working days of the broadcast.
You need to provide the following details about the programme:
You also need to explain which broadcasting standards you think have been breached, and why.
For an overview of the standards:
Go to Codes and Standards
For help with choosing the right standard, including some examples:
Go to Choosing a Standard
For a broadcaster or station which is not listed here, you can use the BSA's online complaint from instead (scroll down to the next heading 'If you cannot find the broadcaster you're looking for' and fill in the checklist to access the BSA's Formal Complaint form).
Or you can post your complaint to the broadcaster
If you prefer to post your complaint, you can print out and complete the BSA's downloadable Formal Complaint form and post it to the broadcaster:
Postal addresses for the broadcasters can be found on their websites.
You can make a complaint using the BSA’s online Formal Complaint form below.
If you use the BSA’s online form, your complaint will be sent on to the relevant broadcaster.