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Tips for contacting media

Making a complaint

National FASd trustees and staff held a meeting with senior people from Ofcom to discuss ways to ensure that the issues of alcohol in pregnancy are accurately portrayed in broadcast media. We were strongly encouraged to report any instances where things are not accurately portrayed and to encourage others to do the same. Below is a mini guide to the procedure.

Any complaint regarding a BBC programme should first be pursued directly with the BBC. For other broadcasters and if the BBC has not adequately responded to a direct complaint to them, then contact Ofcom.

How to complain to the BBC

1. Go to the BBC complaints page here.
2. What is your complaint about – click the drop down and choose the tv or radio depending on what you’re complaining about
3. Which channel or service are you complaining about – ie BBC1 (Morning Live) or radio 4 (women’s hour)
4. Are you contacting us about a previous complaint – No
5. Give your complaint a title – Alcohol in pregnancy or morning live or whatever you like
6. Write your complaint in the box -it has to be less than 2000 characters
7. Select the best category to describe your complaint – you could choose factual error/inaccuracy or standards of interviewing/presenting
8. Write the program title – ie Morning Live or Women’s hour 17.06.21
9. Do you require a response to your complaint – Yes
10. Add your personal details and send it in!

When and how to complain to Ofcom

For shows not on the BBC, or if you have complained to the BBC and did not get a satisfactory response, it is critical to register your complaint with Ofcom as well. Their form is here.

To complain about the Saturday Night Live skit

Please see this post for step-by-step information on how to submit a complaint to Ofcom about the January 2022 SNL skit.

Key points to cover for general news story

People have also asked for suggested text. Obviously amend as you like this is just a start for people but for morning live you could say something like this:
Complaint regarding [show and date]
I would like to complain about how the issue of alcohol and pregnancy [or FASD] was portrayed on [x] which aired on [x].
The whole tone of the piece was inappropriate as it …
The show did not give accurate information as to how serious a matter alcohol use in pregnancy can be or about what the risks are including miscarriage, premature birth, still birth, SIDS, as well as FASD.
FASD is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder affecting more children than autism, with 428 associated conditions. 
The Chief Medical Officers guidelines that state that there is no safe amount of alcohol use in pregnancy. This was a real opportunity to explain the public health messaging. It was deeply offensive to stakeholders within the FASD community that this serious subject was not appropriate covered.
As a public broadcaster you have a duty to ensure that balanced information is given and you failed to do that during this program.
Whenever alcohol and pregnancy is discussed the CMO guidelines should be included and instead of commentators giving opinion and inaccurate information, experts in FASD and those with lived experience should be included.
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