GRATUITOUS SUICIDE REPORTING LEADS TO MORE SUICIDE: It has been drawn to my attention by an American law professor that certain South African media oulets are violating internationally recognised reporting guidelines on suicide at the instigation of the lobby group, so-called ‘Dignity SA’ in their campaign to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide. Such reporting is unethical, because suicide is contagious behaviour and gratuitous reporting leads to more suicides. The gratuitous reporting on the suicide of Marilyn Monroe was followed by a spate of suicides. Such contagious effect of suicide has also been demonstrated in South Africa, where for example in the 1990s four University of Cape Town students committed suicide in the space of one week. Example of such gratuitous reporting at: http://www.enca.com/south-africa/avron-voice-grave
These media ethical guidelines are endorsed by the American National Institute of Mental Health:
Please share this guideline with reporters who are covering these issues.
See an example of a legal demand letter sent to “People magazine” on their unethical reporting of suicide.