Complaints procedure

The NPO ombudsman is independent and impartial. The ombudsman follows and examines all journalistic programming and production by the Dutch Public Broadcasters. And the ombudsman examines and investigates complaints by the public.

The ombudsman’s authority does not cover all programming by the public broadcasters, only the journalistic programming on radio, television or the internet that fall within the genres of news, sports, current affairs, events and opinions. Here is as an example of a list of TV programming from the first quarter of 2018 that the ombudsman can look into.

If you believe that a program or editor from one of the public broadcasters have not acted according to the public service’s journalistic code, you can do the following. First of all, you can contact the broadcaster or program editor(s). Find contact details of the broadcasters on this list.

Are you not satisfied with the way in which the broadcaster or editor addressed your complaint or with the answer you received? Then mail to ombudsman@npo.nl. You can also contact the ombudsman directly via this e-mail address. In order to be able to answer you correctly, she will first contact the editors of the program or the broadcaster.

There is a number of rules:

  • Your complaint should be about a journalistic production (i.e. in a program or article on radio, television or internet) by one of the public broadcasters.
  • Make sure your complaint is motivated, and state your name. Anonymous complaints will not be considered. Neither will unfunded cursing or scolding.
  • If you already complained to a program or broadcaster but are not satisfied with the answer, please include your correspondence with the program or the broadcaster.
  • You will always receive a return receipt message from the ombudsman. Not all complaints can or will be investigated. Some complaints are forwarded directly to the relevant broadcaster. If the ombudsman examines your complaint, you will be notified.
  • There are time limits to which the broadcaster of your complaint and the ombudsman have to adhere. You can find these in the comprehensive complaints procedure. If the investigation takes longer than the maximum time frame, the ombudsman will let you know.
  • Pronouncements and investigations by the ombudsman are published on the website. You as a complainant will be notified.


Read more about the Code of Bordeaux. This is a declaration of principles on the conduct of journalists. The code was adopted in Bordeaux (France) in April 1954 by The International Federation of Journalists.

The Dutch Journalism Council adopted standards for correct journalistic behavior and good journalistic practice. Read more here.

You may also file a complaint with an independent judge.