Restrictions to stop journalists writing intrusive articles about suicide victims
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The media has been allowed free reign when it comes to reporting deaths for hundreds of years. This is due to our democratic government and the freedom of press, which entails that communication and expression though various media outlets should be considered a right to be exercised freely. A recent example of where this has caused damage is the way the press reported on Caroline Flacks death. They did this in such an intrusive and critical way that Keir Starmer amongst other politicians condemned the way the media wrote about her. Sadly this condemnation did not follow through to reports written for people out of the public eye. Insensitive articles the same as these are still published meaning the press can still cause unnecessary trauma for families and friends of the deceased, who are already dealing with a great deal of stress and grief.
The guidelines set for journalists when reporting on bereavements, in particular suicide should be touched upon and changed by the government. As of now there are guidelines in place to tell journalists what to do when reporting on suicide respectfully including; avoiding listing the method of which was used to prevent other people using this same method, avoiding excessive amounts of detailed coverage on the death, avoiding dramatic headlines and to avoid speculation of the trigger causing the death. Regardless these guidelines are not being followed correctly.
Suicide is a different type of grief to deal with, with guilt and blame being major differentiating factors from other reasons of death. This should mean that journalists show more respect towards families, friends and victims during these difficult times. This sadly isn’t the case with many reports being publicised fabricating the truth and pointing blame towards the families, loved ones and even the victims themselves which causes massive destruction.
Freedom of speech is a right. However suicide is one of the biggest public health issues this country faces. It should be addressed by the media in a way to raise awareness of charities and resources created to help people in that frame of mind and to pay respects to the deceased and their families. It should not be used to dishonour the deceased or those close to them in any way. The guidelines which are already in place should be turned into law to force journalists to show sensitivity towards people in a state of grief after losing a loved one.
My passion for this force of change has come from my recent loss of a loved one and the way the press covered her death. The press’ lack of sensitivity, privacy and factual detail has left her family and loved ones in a state of distress and disbelief. The Daily Mail completely incriminated my friend Martha Jarvis and her boyfriend Redley Flowerdew using fallacious information. Journalists doing this to these already vulnerable people is a sure way of deteriorating the mental health of those left behind. Whilst showing no respect or consideration for the deceased or the people left behind at a time when they so urgently need and deserve it. Something needs to change before more lives are lost, no one should have to go through this encroachment especially in a time which is already so difficult.
I have attached a link to the daily mail article to show to you how impertinent and indecorous it was.
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