How We Work

Complaints can be made online directly to OMSA by submitting the prescribed complaint form.

All mandatory fields must be completed, including:

the complainant’s name,
the website link,
the standard(s) alleged to have been breached and the reasons why, and
what if any remedy is sought in the event the complaint is upheld.
The complainant must disclose if he/she has complained about the same subject matter to another regulatory forum.

The Chair on OMSA’s Complaints Committee (The Chair) will summarily dismiss complaints that fall outside OMSA’s jurisdiction, are trivial or vexatious, or do not disclose an arguable breach of the Code of Standards.

If the Chair considers there is an arguable breach to be investigated by OMSA, he/she will refer the complaint to the publisher and seek a response.
At this point the Chair may assist the parties to mediate complaints. Complaints may be withdrawn and/or settled between parties at any time.
The publisher may withdraw, modify, correct or clarify the content in question at any time and shall refer to this in its response to OMSA.
OMSA may ask the publisher to remove the material under investigation pending final determination of the complaint if it appears the Code has been breached and the material in question gives rise to a real risk of significant harm to an individual or group of individuals.
OMSA may deliberate on any standards under the Code it considers appropriate, whether or not specified by the complainant, provided they fall within the tenor of the original complaint and the publisher is notified and given an opportunity to comment.
OMSA may seek supplementary material from the parties involved at any time by inviting both parties to submit material and/or comment on the issue.
OMSA will determine its own procedures for the most efficient way of adjudicating complaints, with the objective that complaints are determined in accordance with the rules of natural justice as simply and effectively as possible.
OMSA will issue a formal, written decision for all complaints, setting out the reasons for its decision. Decisions will be sent to all parties concerned and will be posted, along with a short summary of the decision, on OMSA’s website.

OMSA may also, at its discretion, release any decision to the media.

If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the publisher must:

Publish OMSA’s short summary of its decision and link to the full decision on its website, with prominence proportionate to the original publication, for at least 24 consecutive hours immediately after the decision is released (unless the publisher appeals) and shall maintain a link to the decision within the material for as long as the it remains unaltered online; and
Take any other action with regard to the content stipulated by OMSA, including withdrawing, modifying, correcting or clarifying it.
Where the decision leads to the removal or modification of content, the publisher shall take all reasonable steps to have the content removed or modified on third party sites where it is aware that material over which it has copyright has been published.

If the complaint is not upheld, the publisher may decide whether to post the decision on line or to take any other action it wishes with regard to the content.

The parties have a limited right of appeal to the Online Media Standards Appeals Committee, on the following grounds only:

Significant new evidence that was not available at the time of the original adjudication or which one or other of the parties could not have presented at the time of the original complaint;
The rules of natural justice were not followed; and/or
The Code of Standards was not correctly applied.
Any appeal must be made by email to the Chair of the Online Media Standards Appeals Committee.