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Mother in New Zealand not allowed to discuss son's suicide in media

PeacefulViking

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Here is an interesting story about the effects of New Zealand's laws on suicide reporting in media.

A mother to a 18-year old man who committed wants to tell her story to celebrate his life and raise awareness about suicide, but that is not allowed by the law. A coroner has issued a name suppression order, which is apparently common in suicide cases in NZ.

The claimed reason is to prevent people being influenced to commit suicide by reading about it, but to me this seems like a flimsy reason to enact such a law. There is a public interest to have an open discussion about suicide, which should include real examples, and there is also a private interest from a family to be able to tell their story.
 


gleeful

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The anglophone countries all seem to be drift towards state control of the media and the abandonment of free speech.
 

stopdoingstuff

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No doubt a policy dreamed up of by well meaning people with good intentions, who just happened to get a massive erection from the thought that they were doing good and they were sooooo special.
 

PeacefulViking

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The anglophone countries all seem to be drift towards state control of the media and the abandonment of free speech.
I am not sure it is getting worse. The laws mentioned in the OP are not new. And the US is still a role for free speech in many ways.
 

Congalltee

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While they are at it, can they ban fluff pieces about:
- "I had depression/anxiety/eating disorders but I'm a successful person";
- d-list celebs coming out;
- zany laws republicans in southern US have brainfarted
which would affect trans* community, if any lived there
- the Kardashians.
- articles that begin with the persons age (eg I'm 19, Irish and I don't drink
- anything about vegans

Thanks

[I'm not actually in favour of any state interfering with the press unless there are good reasons. The copycat effect can be avoided if media write responsibly http://www.samaritans.org/sites/default/files/kcfinder/files/press/Samaritans%20Media%20Guidelines%202013%20UK.pdf ]
 
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cunnyfunt

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Societal OCD is gripping the worlds neurotics, and we're pandering to them.
 

Mercurial

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A ridiculous law. It's apparently much easier to pretend the problem doesn't exist than it is to actually do something about it (especially as that would be expensive).
 

rainmaker

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Here is an interesting story about the effects of New Zealand's laws on suicide reporting in media.

A mother to a 18-year old man who committed wants to tell her story to celebrate his life and raise awareness about suicide, but that is not allowed by the law. A coroner has issued a name suppression order, which is apparently common in suicide cases in NZ.

The claimed reason is to prevent people being influenced to commit suicide by reading about it, but to me this seems like a flimsy reason to enact such a law. There is a public interest to have an open discussion about suicide, which should include real examples, and there is also a private interest from a family to be able to tell their story.
The state has no business regulating how and where people can grieve. This sort of thing can save lives.

Is the 'Theme From M.A.S.H.' banned from the NZ airwaves as well?
 

lostexpectation

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Here is an interesting story about the effects of New Zealand's laws on suicide reporting in media.

A mother to a 18-year old man who committed wants to tell her story to celebrate his life and raise awareness about suicide, but that is not allowed by the law. A coroner has issued a name suppression order, which is apparently common in suicide cases in NZ.

The claimed reason is to prevent people being influenced to commit suicide by reading about it, but to me this seems like a flimsy reason to enact such a law. There is a public interest to have an open discussion about suicide, which should include real examples, and there is also a private interest from a family to be able to tell their story.
if his name isn't mention why all the [REDACTED]s
 

ne0ica

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I don't know how many times I've heard commentators in the Irish media claim that the Catholic Church is responsible for the 'stigma' surrounding suicide.
 

Wagmore

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Agree with free speech but not sure that all this "talking" about depression is the "light" at the tunnel that so many touchy-feely media commentators would have us believe. None of these plonkers want to go there but I have little doubt there is a correlation between the promotion of materialism, the official death of God, and an increase in suicide
 

Roberto Jordan

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Here is an interesting story about the effects of New Zealand's laws on suicide reporting in media.

A mother to a 18-year old man who committed wants to tell her story to celebrate his life and raise awareness about suicide, but that is not allowed by the law. A coroner has issued a name suppression order, which is apparently common in suicide cases in NZ.

The claimed reason is to prevent people being influenced to commit suicide by reading about it, but to me this seems like a flimsy reason to enact such a law. There is a public interest to have an open discussion about suicide, which should include real examples, and there is also a private interest from a family to be able to tell their story.
Publicity regarding the act of suicide increases the rate of suicide. this is proven fact.

Malcolm Gladwell has written about the phenomenon whereby publicity and discussion about both suicide and celebrity deaths has been proven to increase instances of suicide. It is a while since I read his article but he was able to cite studies which included a statistically significant increase in fatal car accidents in LA in the days after a high profile suicide. He also, more pertinently to this story, wrote of a pacific island nation ( cannot recall the one) which went from having a near zero suicide rate to having an epidemic whereby children less than 10 were attempting to themselves.

Interesting to consider if The long standing tradition of near shaming of victims of suicide was , originally, based on some unscientific, blunt leaning over generations regarding all of this?

I would therefore suggest while discussion of the underlying drivers of suicide among st particular demographics is good and necessary, it would appear discussion of particular cases or the act itself is detrimental.
 

PeacefulViking

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Here is an interview with a journalism lecturer that explains the laws. If I understand it correctly the media can't report a death as a suicide prior to the inquest. After the inquest the coroner may or may not allow a report. Even then no discussion of the methods is allowed. This may explain some of the redactions in the link in the OP.

There is a suggested change of the law to ease the restrictions somewhat, but they would remain the strictest in the world.
 

wombat

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I don't know how many times I've heard commentators in the Irish media claim that the Catholic Church is responsible for the 'stigma' surrounding suicide.
I wonder have we gone too far the other way?
 

Nitrogen

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A ridiculous law. It's apparently much easier to pretend the problem doesn't exist than it is to actually do something about it (especially as that would be expensive).
No, it is a very sensible law.

Suicide is a highly contagious social phenomenon. "Raising awareness" is no doubt very very well meant, but it needs to be done with extreme caution. There exists a real danger in such cases of glamourising the act and idolising the victim. Suicides are an entirely different phenomenon to, for instance bowel cancer or carbon monoxide poisoning or whatever other public health issues might compete for our attention, in that it involves a deliberate act on the part of the victim, (notwithstanding the existence in some cases of a large grey area regarding actual intent, and the fact that decision making capacity may be impaired by mental illness in some cases.).

Maybe the New Zealand law may need some tweeking, I know little about the detail of NZ law. This case may or may not involve some unintended consequence, perhaps could be done more sensitively maybe...but the general idea is a good one and very much constitutes "doing something" which is evidenced based about the problem
 

Clanrickard

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No, it is a very sensible law.

Suicide is a highly contagious social phenomenon. "Raising awareness" is no doubt very very well meant, but it needs to be done with extreme caution. There exists a real danger in such cases of glamourising the act and idolising the victim. Suicides are an entirely different phenomenon to, for instance bowel cancer or carbon monoxide poisoning or whatever other public health issues might compete for our attention, in that it involves a deliberate act on the part of the victim, (notwithstanding the existence in some cases of a large grey area regarding actual intent, and the fact that decision making capacity may be impaired by mental illness in some cases.).

Maybe the New Zealand law may need some tweeking, I know little about the detail of NZ law. This case may or may not involve some unintended consequence, perhaps could be done more sensitively maybe...but the general idea is a good one and very much constitutes "doing something" which is evidenced based about the problem
I fail to see how a grief stricken mother could possibly glamorise her son's suicide.
 

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