Did a media house go too far in suicide reporting?
There were three confirmed cases of suicide on Monday. Two of them were in Punta Gorda and one in the Belize District. The policy here at News Five is that we don’t normally report on the cases because of the emotional difficulty added to the families of the deceased. There are also reports that media coverage and its exposure of suicides can encourage persons with tendencies to take their own lives. According to one report “Research finds an increase in suicide by readers or viewers when the number of stories about individual suicides increases; a particular death is reported at length or in many stories; the story of an individual death by suicide is placed on the front page or at the beginning of a broadcast; and the headlines about specific suicide deaths are dramatic.”
Now, tonight we raise this issue because the detail and graphic display of a victim made it in other sections of the media earlier today. It has stirred up a hornets’ nest of emotions on the street and the online social media. The issue is that a local media house has plastered a gruesome crime scene photo of a female with a rope tied around her dislodged neck. The suicide note that includes the name of a seventeen year old minor whose unrequited love, apparently gave incentive for the girl’s action was also published. News Five finds the picture, the style of writing, and the publication of the article deplorable and in bad taste. It was raised with a senior police officer who says that they are obligated to investigate suicides as murders because murders have been masked to appear as suicides in the past. It is, however, the discretion of the media to heed research findings that families should avoid media contact. In this particular case, the family of the minor named in the article, says that they are seeking counseling for him.Email This Story