Broadcasting Act 2009

48.

Complaints process.

48.— (1) Subject to this section, the Compliance Committee may investigate and decide upon any of the following complaints—

( a) a complaint that in broadcasting news given by it and specified in the complaint, a broadcaster did not comply with one or more of the requirements of section 39(1)(a) and (b),

( b) a complaint that in broadcasting a programme specified in the complaint, a broadcaster either did not comply with one or more of these requirements or was in breach of the prohibition contained in section 39(1)(d) ,

( c) a complaint that on an occasion specified in the complaint, there was an encroachment by a broadcaster contrary to section 39 (1) (e) ,

( d) a complaint that on an occasion specified in the complaint, a broadcaster failed to comply with a provision of a broadcasting code providing for the matters referred to in section 42(2)(a) to (d) and section 42(2)(f) , (g) and (h).

(2) A complaint under subsection (1) shall be in writing and be made to the Compliance Committee not more than 30 days after—

( a) in case the complaint relates to one broadcast, the date of the broadcast,

( b) in the case of 2 or more unrelated broadcasts, the date of the earlier or earliest, as the case may be, of those broadcasts, or

( c) in case the complaint relates to 2 or more related broadcasts of which at least 2 are made on different dates, the later or latest of those dates.

(3) The Compliance Committee may, at their discretion, refer the complaint in the first instance to the broadcaster, for consideration in accordance with a code of practice prepared under section 47 (3) .

(4) Where the Compliance Committee proposes to investigate a complaint made under this section the Committee shall afford to the broadcaster to whom the complaint relates (hereafter in this section referred to as the “broadcaster concerned”) 7 days or such further period as the Committee allows to comment on the complaint.

(5) Where a complaint is made to the Compliance Committee under subsection (1) and—

( a) a person employed by the broadcaster concerned in the making of any programme the subject of the complaint, or

( b) if the making of any programme the subject of the complaint was commissioned by the broadcaster concerned, the person commissioned to make that programme,

requests, for reasons specified by him or her, the Compliance Committee to afford to him or her an opportunity to comment on the complaint, the Compliance Committee shall, having considered the reasons so specified, afford to the person 7 days or such further period as the Committee allows to comment on the complaint if, but only if, they are satisfied that, as appropriate—

(i) an interest of the person referred to in paragraph (a) , being an interest which the Compliance Committee consider relevant to the person’s employment by the broadcaster concerned, or

(ii) the prospects of the person referred to in paragraph (b) obtaining further commissions in respect of programmes from the broadcaster concerned,

may, because of the complaint, be adversely affected.

(6) When the Compliance Committee proposes to consider a complaint that a broadcaster failed to comply with the provision of a broadcasting code providing for the matters referred to in section 42 (2) (g) or (h) the Compliance Committee shall afford the relevant advertiser 7 days or such further period as the Committee allows to comment on the relevant advertisement.

(7) As soon as may be after they decide on a complaint made under this section, the Compliance Committee shall send to—

( a) the person who made the complaint, and

( b) the broadcaster concerned,

a statement in writing of their decision, including the reasons for their decision.

(8) In case the Compliance Committee decide on a complaint that a broadcaster failed to comply with the provision of a broadcasting code providing for the matters referred to in section 42(2)(g) or (h), as soon as may be after their decision, the Compliance Committee shall (in addition to complying with the requirements of subsection (7)) send to the person with whom the broadcaster concerned agreed to broadcast the relevant advertisement (if he or she is not the person who made the complaint) a statement in writing of their decision.

(9) The consideration by the Compliance Committee of a complaint made to them under this section may be carried out by the Compliance Committee in private.

(10) Unless they consider it inappropriate to do so, the Compliance Committee shall, as soon as may be after the making of the decision, publish particulars of their decision on a complaint in such manner as they consider suitable and, without prejudice to subsection (11), where they consider that the publication should be by the broadcaster concerned, or should include publication by the broadcaster concerned, the particulars shall be published by the broadcaster concerned in such manner as shall be agreed between the Compliance Committee and the broadcaster concerned.

(11) Without prejudice to subsection (10), the broadcaster concerned shall, unless the Compliance Committee consider it inappropriate for the broadcaster to do so, broadcast the Compliance Committee’s decision on every complaint considered by the Compliance Committee in which the Compliance Committee found in favour, in whole or in part, of the person who made the complaint, within 21 days of such decision and at a time and in a manner corresponding to that in which the broadcast to which the complaint relates took place.

(12) As regards proceedings under this section, the Compliance Committee does not have any power to award to any party costs or expenses.

(13) Subsection (1) does not apply to a complaint which, in the opinion of the Compliance Committee, is not made in good faith or is frivolous or vexatious, nor, unless the Compliance Committee consider that there are special reasons for investigating the complaint (which reasons shall be stated by the Compliance Committee when giving their decision), does that subsection apply to a complaint which is withdrawn.

(14) Where a matter has been the subject of multiple complaints made under—

( a) this section, or

( b) in respect of a broadcast transmitted from another jurisdiction targeted at audiences in the State,

the Compliance Committee may review the matter concerned and, as it considers appropriate, report to the Minister and to the relevant public body in such form and manner as the Committee thinks fit the findings arising out of such review.

(15) The Compliance Committee shall endeavour to decide upon a complaint as soon as practicable after such a complaint is received.

(16) The Compliance Committee may, where it deems it appropriate, hold an oral hearing in respect of proceedings under this section.

(17) The Compliance Committee may deem a complaint made to a broadcaster within the time periods specified in section 47(2) as having been made within the time periods specified in subsection (2).