Speed up complaint process, warns broadcast watchdog

THE BROADCASTING watchdog has warned solicitors instructed to draft complaints on behalf of clients to speed up their acts.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission has revealed that members of the public who believe they are increasing their chances of a successful complaint by paying a solicitor are in fact achieving the opposite result.

It points out that the time limits it operates under are considerably tighter than those adopted by the courts, and that solicitors are invariably out of time, thereby prejudicing their clients' cases.

A spokeswoman said people who drafted their own complaints were more likely to get them in on time.

“We have received a number of cases recently from solicitors acting on behalf of complainants, who do not appear to be aware of the commission's normal guidelines in considering whether a complaint has been made within a reasonable time,” she said. “This is normally considered to be within three months of the broadcast in the case of television and six weeks for radio.”

The commission has the power to consider unfair treatment in programmes and infringement of privacy. It can require broadcasters to transmit adjudications on the same channel at a similar time to the original programme.