If you have a complaint about editorial or advertising material published in the Melbourne Observer (print or online), we suggest that you contact the Editor, Mr Ash Long.
All complaints are taken seriously.
You can contact the Editor in a number of ways:
• PHONE: Freecall 1800 231 311 or (03) 5797 2656
• MOBILE: 0450 399 932
• POST: PO Box 1278, Research, Vic 3095
• EMAIL: editor@MelbourneObserver.com.au
If you are not satisfied with the result regarding editorial material, you may want to contact the Australian Press Council.
Local Media Pty Ltd, publisher of The Local Paper, is not yet a constituent body/member of the APC, but has made application (Sept. 2017).
The Melbourne Observer subscribes to the principles of the Australian Press Council. No fees are charged for using the Council’s complaints process.
Complaints may relate to news reports, articles, editorials, letters, cartoons, images and other published material. The Council does not consider complaints about advertising material, except where the complaint is that the material is not clearly identifiable as advertising.
Where it is more appropriate for a complaint to be dealt with by another organisation, the Council will suggest that the complainant raises the matter with that organisation. This may occur where, for example, the complaint relates to advertising, or to broadcasts on radio or television.
The Council considers complaints about material published in print or digital form by publishers which are “constituent bodies” of the Council. It can also consider complaints about the methods used by publications to obtain information which is subsequently published.
The Council may also consider complaints about material published by other publishers. But, unlike constituent bodies, those publishers are not under a legal obligation to co-operate with the Council or to publish any adjudication by it.
Complaints are treated by the Council as being against the publication, not any individual journalist or editor. But in most complaints the Council’s consideration is likely to focus on the actions of journalists, editors or other media practitioners.
WHO CAN COMPLAIN?
In general, any person may lodge a complaint about published material. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the Council will not consider complaints by one publisher member of the Council against another.
Where a complainant is not personally identified or directly affected by the published material, the complaint may be considered as a “secondary complaint” and some different procedures may apply (see Handling of Complaints).
WHEN CAN A COMPLAINT BE MADE?
A person can complain to the Council after complaining to the relevant publication; or at the same time as a complaint is made to the publication; or without having complained to the publication.
Where a complaint is made directly to the Council, it may decide to commence its consideration of the complaint; or in some circumstances, ask the complainant to raise the complaint directly with the publication and then come back to the Council if its further involvement is sought.
Complaints normally should be made within 30 days of the first publication of the relevant material. Where appropriate, a complaint can be made with a request that the Council delays consideration of it until a specified event (e.g. recovery from serious illness)
Where the complaint is lodged out of time, the complainant must seek approval for consideration, on the basis of one or more of the following:
• there was a reasonable justification for the complainant not having previously noticed the material; or
• the complaint involves a number of articles over a lengthy period; or
• the complainant had spent time unsuccessfully seeking a response from the publication; or
• there were other good grounds for delaying submission of a complaint.
The Council does not require complainants to undertake that they will not commence legal proceedings in relation to the material about which they are complaining. But they must tell the Council if they have done so or may do so.
If proceedings have actually been commenced, consideration of the complaint by the Council should not proceed unless there are special circumstances which mean that a delay would be unfairly detrimental to the complainant.
HOW CAN A COMPLAINT BE MADE?
Complaints should be made by completing the Council’s Complaint Form and sending it to the Council preferably online, or by email, fax or post.
If it is difficult or impossible for a complainant to make a written complaint by using the online or downloadable complaint form, they may contact the Council for advice and assistance.
The Council’s complaints process is intended to be as informal, prompt and economical as possible. Complaints must be made and pursued by complainants or their immediate family unless there are exceptional circumstances. Complainants and publications are not normally permitted to communicate with the Council through lawyers.
Complainants must indicate when making a complaint if they wish some details to be kept confidential from the publication or not to be published in any Council adjudication on the matter. The Council will then explain circumstances in which this may be possible and the complainant can decide whether to proceed with the complaint.