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Complaints

If you wish to complain about an SBS program or service this is the page which tells you how to do it.

There are three categories of complaints at SBS there are General Complaints, Code Complaints, and Closed Captioning Complaints.  First decide which category applies to your complaint and then follow the instructions below:

1)      General Complaints

General complaints cover all SBS content and services.  You can make a general complaint about any aspect of SBS content, products or services, with the exception of closed captioning which has a specific complaint email address (see below).

If you want to make a general complaint about any aspect of SBS programs or about a program SBS is planning to show  then this is the place to have your say.

General complaints can made by:

Phone:     Toll free - 1800 500 727 (toll free)

TTY* - Call NRS on 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 500 727

E-mail:      generalcomplaints@sbs.com.au

Mail:         Locked Bag 028, Crows Nest NSW 1585.

(* For people who are deaf or hearing impaired.)

Complaint information is collected by SBS and informs the future directions of the corporation.

While SBS attempts to respond to all general complaints, it is not always possible to do so.  Major concerns in general complaints are referred to relevant SBS division for their information and written responses are normally provided. 

SBS does not respond to abusive or offensive correspondence.

 

2)      Code Complaints.

Code complaints cover all SBS content on any platform online, radio, or television.  Code complaints can only be made after content has been broadcast or been uploaded.  All Code complaints must be received within 6 weeks of the original publication or broadcast.

Code complaints must allege a possible breach of the SBS Codes of Practice. The SBS Code of Practice can be found here

Code Complaints cover but are not limited to: allegations of prejudice, racism and discrimination; the Classification of content including sex, violence and language; and balance and accuracy issues involving news and current affairs content. 

Code complaints are investigated independently by the SBS Ombudsman and a written response is provided to complainants as detailed in Code 9 of SBS Codes of Practice.

The finding of the SBS Ombudsman to a Code complaint can be reviewed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Code complainants must be Australian residents. If a complainant is not an Australian resident but is identified in the content which is the subject of complaint, they may also make a Code complaint. Complaints are required to provide their name and address.

Code Complaints can be lodged either by using the online form or by emailing codecomplaints@sbs.com.au.

 

3)      Closed Captioning Complaints

Closed captioning

Broadcasters are required to comply with rules and standards relating to captioning television programs for the deaf and hearing impaired (closed captions). These rules and standards are set out in Part 9D of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, and the Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard 2013 (you can access these documents at www.comlaw.gov.au).

In summary, SBS is required to:

    comply with the Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard relating to the quality of captioning services;

for SBS ONE

    caption all English language programs broadcast between 6am and midnight;

    caption all English language news and current affairs programs;

for SBS 2 and NITV

    caption programs previously broadcast on SBS ONE with captions;

    where a program is premiered with captions on SBS 2 or NITV, provide captions when the program is broadcast on the other multi-channel service

 

What are closed captions?

Closed captions are a text representation, in English, of a program’s soundtrack. Closed captions are usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. They are different to open captions or subtitles in that the viewer can choose to access them or not, that is, they can be turned on or off depending on the viewer’s preference. Open captions or subtitles cannot be turned on or off.

Closed captions can be accessed on most digital TV receivers by using the button marked ‘STTL’ or ‘CC’ (refer to the instructions provided with your television receiver).

 

Problems with closed captions

Closed captions can be affected by factors outside of SBS’s control such as your television equipment, and weather conditions around your local transmission tower. If the captions are not presenting normally you may wish to check with someone you know who lives nearby to determine whether the problem is specific to your receiver.

If you are having technical problems, SBS may be able to assist you – refer to the contact details under ‘Technical issues concerning transmission, telephone and online SBS services’ above. For the reasons indicated above, it is important that you provide SBS with information about your location at the time of your call (suburb and state is usually sufficient).

Complaints about closed captions

If you wish to make a complaint that SBS has breached its captioning obligations (for example, SBS did not provide a captioning service as required, or you consider the captions are of poor quality) you must put your complaint in writing and send it to:

Post: SBS Captioning Complaints, Locked Bag 028, Crows Nest, NSW

Email: comments@sbs.com.au

You will need to:

    identify yourself – name and address;

    identify the program broadcast including, if possible, broadcast date and time and the channel on which it was broadcast;

    state the nature of your complaint (for example, no captions).

Complaints must be received within six weeks of broadcast. SBS will respond to your complaint within 30 days.

If SBS has not responded within 30 days you are entitled to make a complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) about the matter. If you consider SBS’s response to be inadequate, you may also make a complaint to the ACMA. Contact details for the ACMA can be found at www.acma.gov.au.