Expresion of Recommendations on Suicide about Responsible Report in Lithuanian Media

Kristina Balevičiūtė, Aldona Jociutė

Abstract


The article reveals the policy of promoting public awareness of suicide prevention and its expression in the media. The article analyzes how the reports of suicide and suicide attempts in Lithuanian press and internet portals follow to the specialists recommendations to inform and educate the public about suicide and psychological support as well as opportunities of prevention. It also analyzes whether the recommendations of the nature of the report are taken into account, whether the report is illustrated by photographs or video material, is there mentioning of the person identification data in the report, and whether the report is about famous people suicide or suicide attempt of a famous person. The content analysis of the reports was based on the Lithuanian Journalists and Publishers Ethics Code and the 2008 WHO report on responsible suicide guidelines for media professionals. Three largest Lithuanian circulation newspapers and the most visited websites were selected for the research.
WHO suicide prevention specialists and psychologists have developed guidelines for journalists and publishers how to responsibly develop and disseminate information about the suicide. Recommendations can change the writing style and thus protect from imitation syndrome. However, only in partnership providing consultations and training to the development the maximum benefit will be achieved.
The study showed that recommendations of professionals are partially applied. The recommendations to educate and inform the public about the potential psychological assistance, preventive measures, how to recognize a person with suicidal thoughts and to offer him any help are completely ignored. A name of a famous person is frequently used, and it is provided as an intriguing and sensational news. In the most popular Lithuanian’s media sources, sensational, emotional, detailed and attempting to attract the reader of suicide or suicide attempts descriptions dominate.

Keywords


policy of suicide prevention; message about suicide in the media; responsible informing; public awareness

Full Text:

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SPV-14-2-7-06

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"Health Policy and Management" ISSN online 2029-9001 / ISSN print 2029-3569