The NPO ombudsman is independent and impartial. The ombudsman follows and examines the journalistic practice and product by the Dutch Public Broadcasters. Also, the ombudsman can examine and investigate complaints made by the public.

The ombudsman’s authority does not cover all programming by the public broadcasters, only the journalistic practice and product on radio, television or online that fall within the genres of news, sports, current affairs, information and education. Here is as a list of examples of TV programming from the first quarter of 2022 that the ombudsman can look into.

If you believe that a program, reporter or editor from one of the public broadcasters has 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.

If you are not satisfied with the way in which the broadcaster or editor addressed your complaint or with the answer you received, then you yourself can e-mail You can also contact the ombudsman directly via this e-mail address. In order to be able to fully investigate your complaint, she will always contact the editors of the program or the broadcaster. Complaints submitted to the ombudsman via third parties cannot be dealt with.

Complaints need to comply with some rules:

  • Your question or complaint should be about a journalistic production (i.e. in a program or article on radio, television or online) or method by one of the public broadcasters.
  • Make sure your question or complaint is motivated, and state your name. Anonymous complaints cannot be considered. Neither will trolling, cursing or scolding be tolerated.
  • 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 are forwarded directly to the relevant broadcaster. If the ombudsman examines your complaint, you will be notified.
  • There are time limits broadcaster and ombudsman have to adhere to. You can find these in the comprehensive complaints procedure. If an investigation takes longer than the maximum allocated time frame, the ombudsman will let you know.
  • Rulings and investigations by the ombudsman can be published on the website. You as a complainant and the program or reporter will be notified by e-mail.

Read more about the Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists. This is a set of rules about the journalistic method to which journalists are expected to adhere to. The code was adopted in June 2019 in Tunis by The International Federation of Journalists and is an update of the famous Code of Bordeaux of 1954.

The Dutch Press Council issued standards for correct journalistic behavior and good journalistic practice. Read more here.

You may also file a complaint with an independent judge.