Some sections of the media portray Gypsies and Travellers in negative or inaccurate light, which is hard for them to challenge. Sometimes articles are clearly discriminatory in their approach. Whilst there is legislation and guidance on challenging racism against an individual, it is much more difficult to pursue implied racism against a group of people, particularly in the press.
The complaints process for both print and broadcast media can be slow and complicated. However, it is often worth making the effort. Even if you do not receive a formal apology or back down, the organisation will have had to consider your complaint and often the writer of the piece or the producer of the programme will have had to read the complaint and consider a response.
If you’ve got a complaint, it is a good idea to take it up with the producer of the programme concerned. Find out who made it by contacting the Broadcaster (E.g. BBC, ITV, Channel 4, SKY) and asking for the name of the production company or the producer. Then write to them direct. (You may have to search for the address on the internet, if it is an independent production company). You can copy it in to the broadcaster themselves at their main address.
If it is a News report on TV or Radio, you can contact the Editor direct. Their name is always on the TV credits which come up at the end of the bulletin and are often read out on the radio.
Please click here for contact details
Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. This includes ALL broadcast TV and radio programmes, (including digital channels). It is obliged to follow up all complaints .
2a Southwark Bridge Road
Complaints Advisory Team: 020 7981 3040
The UK press all sign up to a Code of Practice. This is regulated by the publishers themselves and by the Press Complaints commission. The first step is to contact the Editor of the Newspaper of Magazine. You can usually find this within the publication. If you receive no satisfactory response, the next step is to contact the Press Complaints Commission. They will investigate complaints submitted up to two months after publication, or, if you have already been in contact with the Editor of the Newpaper or Magazine, two months after your last correspondence.
The Code of Practice ( point 12) refers to discrimination against an individual. So they will not consider a discrimination complaint against a group of people. However some Gypsy and Traveller groups have tested this by writing to the press complaints commission as individuals stating that they have been personally offended by articles in newspapers.
Please click here for advice on this issue taken directly from the PCC website
Source PCC website: Does Clause 12 (Discrimination) apply only to named individuals? Why not groups of people?
Clause 12 (Discrimination) is designed to prevent named individuals from being subject to discriminatory reference. The Code was changed in 2004 to refer to ‘an individual’s race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability’ to make this especially clear .
The Code does not prohibit discriminatory references to groups of people. To do so would – arguably – interfere with a basic principle of freedom of expression. The Code was designed to protect the individual, which it does in its current form.
However, the Commission has often been able to refocus people’s concerns about the reporting of groups of people into a complaint under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code: if you feel that an article has made unfair references to a particular group, you may be able to argue that those references are inaccurate or misleading in breach of Clause 1.
The website give clear information on how to make a complaint, what can and cannot be considered, the process and timescale.
Press Complaints Commission
London EC1N 2JD
0845 600 2757