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Apr 17, 2012

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.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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22 Responses for “Did a media house go too far in suicide reporting?”

  1. Storm says:

    I agree, we are supposed to be higher level animals, and we need not see every gory tragedy in all its detail.

    A child suicide is a terrible waste, and the family should be given privacy to grieve and offered prayers. That is appropriate.

  2. Marie says:

    Its a shame for aMAndala to do this. They are classless and ghetto to do that to both the families. But a pig with lipstick is still a pig-they will never learn to have class-everything is pro black and soutside this and no chances etc-pick up yourselves by your own bootstraps and work is what you should be preaching to your readers.

  3. Steel says:

    I think there should be at least one media house in Belize 2 show EVERYTHING!!! We need 2 be aware of what is going on around us!

  4. Brightman says:

    Really “Steel”–at the expense of the grieving family? Are we to lose all sense of decency, propriety, and respect, just so that YOU can ‘see’ everything for your interpretation of awareness?? If it were your sister or daughter…would you still feel the same way?

    The Amandala is a very biased and insensitive publication. It ALWAYS gives ITS side of a story–that can NOT be classified as journalism by international standards–that’s propaganda!!! Belizeans need to start boycotting such media outlets!!

  5. Swamp Dragon says:

    Being aware does not include a family’s personal tragedies Steel. No need for this. Nice to see Amandala removed the image. Sensationalism is an cheap attempt at luring new customers. Shameful journalism

  6. June says:

    I want to agree with Steel to a certain extent, we do need to be aware of what’s going around us but I must say that I beleive they should have censored the name of the minor who’s name was in the suicide note.

  7. ron2k_1 says:

    @Steel: Media can show you EVERYTHING without showing you the creepy stuff. That was inappropriate – period… They wanted to show who got hanged? Fine, ask for a picture of when she was still alive. They wanted to show the note and damage a police investigation? Fine, plaster the bloody note but mark out other people’s names and just show the victim’s names. Distasteful, gruesome, inappropriate…

  8. cayo says:

    I agree to know the news but the media house should do it in a professional way, what ashame for amandala that make to think that they never had study in communication nether how to preparer news…..

  9. tool says:

    Eye on the TV
    ’cause tragedy thrills me
    Whatever flavour
    It happens to be like;
    Killed by the husband
    Drowned by the ocean
    Shot by his own son
    She used the poison in his tea
    And kissed him goodbye
    That’s my kind of story
    It’s no fun ’til someone dies

    Don’t look at me like
    I am a monster
    Frown out your one face
    But with the other
    Stare like a junkie
    Into the TV
    Stare like a zombie
    While the mother
    Holds her child
    Watches him die
    Hands to the sky crying
    Why, oh why?
    ’cause I need to watch things die
    From a distance

    Vicariously I, live while the whole world dies
    You all need it too, don’t lie

    Why can’t we just admit it?
    Why can’t we just admit it?

    We won’t give pause until the blood is flowing
    Neither the brave nor bold
    The writers of stories sold
    We won’t give pause until the blood is flowing

    I need to watch things die
    From a good safe distance

    Vicariously I, live while the whole world dies
    You all feel the same so
    Why can’t we just admit it?

    Blood like rain come down
    Drawn on grave and ground

    Part vampire
    Part warrior
    Carnivore and voyeur
    Stare at the transmittal
    Sing to the death rattle

    Credulous at best, your desire to believe in angels in the hearts of men.
    Pull your head on out your hippy haze and give a listen.
    Shouldn’t have to say it all again.
    The universe is hostile. so Impersonal. devour to survive.
    So it is. So it’s always been.

    We all feed on tragedy
    It’s like blood to a vampire

    Vicariously I, live while the whole world dies
    Much better you than I

  10. mbradley says:

    Respect to Amandala,,,, this is what Belize is becoming so we just got to live with it… no hide nothing!!!
    Condolences to the family of the young lady.

  11. John John says:

    What they did was of poor taste.I also felt the same when Belize Times had the picture of the dying or already dead young man whogot shot on Albert Street. That picture had blood streaming out of his headand looked worse on the colored version online. But then again the news media in Belize has set their standard. Remember when there was a huge accident on the Western a few years back and the t.v. news showed people trapped in teh wreckage bawling and dying on camera.

  12. Mara says: hell with it!….Kudos to Amandala…for showing what everyone else is afraid to…. for what? to preserve tact?….oh please!…..I want to see it just as much as the next person….moreover,what makes Amandala’s story different than showing a dead body in the street with brain fragments and blood all over the place?….grow up people….this is 2012!

  13. bambam says:

    i agree with mara. lets put up pictures of accidents involving drunk drivers and how they say after the incident ( if trap, or lose parts of body, if brains showing) maybe people will think. these propaganda of IF U DRINK DONT DRIVE> not working…

  14. rose says:

    Amandala said its not personal its just business! They have a business to run.

  15. Darlene says:

    I must say that writing an article on the suicide is for the sole purpose of informing the public that these type of situation does exist in your society and that we as a society should have some form of system to avoid these type of tradegy. I think they publish the article not to harm the family or friends but as a tool to let everyone clue in that we need to do something to help our young teenagers and adults deal with depression or any kind of chemicla imbalance. I grew up in Belize looking at people that suffer mental ilness as crazy, these people suffer from some sort of chemical imbalance and we did not have to tools or the resources to help them. I do not however agree with showing pictures of anyone in the state of which they were murder. I do agree with showing a nice portrait of the person, so that family members or friends can remember this as the last impression of the person. Start by having suicide prevention program for teens and adults to call into or go to if they are feeling depress or suicidal.

  16. Mario says:

    There is a positive side to this. The wider community gets to know and in this way share the grief and sadness. Hopefully leaders are sensitized as well. After all we are a community and unless we are aware and mindful of the sufferings experienced by those at the bottom of the barrel then we are not being community-spirited. Maybe as a balance they should include section for the public to send messages of condolences

  17. belizeanpride says:

    i think part of this discussion is taboo. we’re not acquainted in seeing stuff shown by media outlets
    making it hard for some viewers. BUT as time goes by we’ll be seeing it in the future cause time keeps changing and public awareness keeps growing more. But overall respect to the grieving family of the girl and my condolence. we need to talk to our teens which is the yrs of life that runs more danger than when we reach the adult ages.

  18. drose flowers says:


  19. Brightman says:

    @ Mara and Bambam…yes, you’re both insensitive imbeciles. I pray you never have to experience such tragedy yourselves. Then we’ll see how you feel about it.

  20. Anika says:

    Listening to all the media coverage, the only persons who seem affected by the publication was the boy’s family, not the victim’s family. The boy’s family seems only concern about their son’s reputation. We are not aware of what that boy might have put that girl through for her to have did such a thing to herself. we must also ask ourselve how Amandala got a copied of that photo and that note. Maybe….just maybe the victim’s family provided them with it so that they could have put it on the front page to prove something to the boy…….who knows….one thing i definately know is that Amandala made a lot of monies from that issue…i only bought one yesterday because of the note and picture on the front page……..

  21. NoNo says:

    No matter what we say, Amandala is still d most bought news paper in the country of Belize. Yes I totaly agree that they were wrong in doing that and posting the youngmans name but whats done is done. we all make mistakes, some really stupid ones too. And amadala will continue selling no matter what we do. I’m sure some of you, when u go to buy a news paper the first one you ask for is the Amandala, and in most places it gets sold out, and i’m sure you wont buy the other news papers. So if Amandala is reading these comments, learn from your mistake and dont do that $#!% again, becuase you just screw up and youngman’s life. As it is the young people are our future leaders.

  22. sweets says:

    Love Amandala but this was wrong. WRONG!!WRONG!!

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