Best practices for reporting on suicide dictate that journalists shouldn’t provide too much information about how someone died.
But does that include where someone died? That question is being debated by the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation, according to UK media news site Hold the Front Page.
iMediaEthics wrote to IPSO to learn more about its call for information. A spokesperson for the organization told iMediaEthics that the request for feedback came from its recent blogpost, which is part of a series with the Samaritans, a charity that works to prevent suicide.
IPSO head of standards Charlotte Urwin explained that she wants to know “Could the details of a location be considered part of a method of suicide? I’d be interested in hearing journalists’ thoughts on this point.”
In that blog post, Urwin explained, “Earlier this week I joined a meeting of government agencies, local charities and mental health providers who meet regularly to talk about the steps they take to reduce the number of suicide attempts at a well-known spot in the UK. I was there to talk about media reporting of suicides, as well as IPSO’s ongoing work to support editors and journalists to report suicide responsibly.”
Urwin noted that the Samaritans advise against the term “suicide hotspot.”
An IPSO spokesperson said people with feedback or thoughts can contact IPSO via social media or e-mail. Read the full IPSO blog post here.
iMediaEthics has written often over the years about what ethicists and experts advise in terms of sensitively and accurately reporting on suicide. Check out our reports.