Press Council's new guidelines ask media to not sensationalise reports on suicide -Anoo Bhuyan
PCI said that journalists should not explicitly report on the method of suicide which a person may have used, nor use any photographs or videos.
New Delhi: The Press Council of India has asked Indian media houses to be careful while reporting on suicide.
Journalists, editors and media houses are being encouraged to not sensationalise or normalise stories about suicides in reports or in headlines, and to not report on suicide in a way that makes it seem like suicide is a solution to any problem.
The Press Council has also said that journalists should not explicitly report on the method of suicide which a person may have used, and not provide details of the exact location where the suicide happened. Photographs and videos of the incident must also not be used.
This comes via new guidelines for the media adopted by the Press Council of India on how to best report on suicide and mental illness.
A research paper published last year said that 43.3% of news reports about suicide in newspapers in Tamil Nadu went into details of reporting the harmful suicide methods used. Only 2.5% of news stories about suicide in these newspapers, gave the contact details for suicide support services.
India’s Mental Health Care Act, 2017 says that the media should not publish photographs or any other information about a person undergoing mental health treatment without their consent. The World Health Organization has also issued guidelines on reporting about suicide. Press Council of India has referred to these two texts to formulate their own brief guidelines which Indian media can also start using.
WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, commended Press Council’s move and said that there is a “need to reduce stigma, shame associated with suicide and not glamourise either.”
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TheWire.in, 17 September, 2019, https://thewire.in/media/press-council-new-guidelines-reporting-suicide