This area is designed to give journalists access to our latest press releases and our media guidelines.
For media enquiries, contact the Press Office on: +44 (0)20 8394 8300 / email@example.com / +44 (0)7943 809 162 (outside of office hours).
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From reporting on suicide to dramatic portrayals, our guidelines help journalists and editors understand the impact of their work on imitational suicides and offer practical advice.
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Samaritans' work with the media
Samaritans adopts a proactive approach to promoting responsible reporting and portrayal of suicide in the media.
Samaritans regularly consults with some of the UK’s leading experts on the influence of the media on suicidal behaviour, including:
- Professor Keith Hawton, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford,
- Stephen Platt, Professor of Health Policy Research at the University of Edinburgh and
- David Gunnell, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Bristol.
As well as supporting the industry, Samaritans works closely with the regulators, including the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Ofcom and the British Board of Film Classification, to ensure responsible reporting and portrayal of suicide, to reduce the risk of imitational behaviour.
Through this work, considerable progress has been made in recent years in the way that suicide is reported in the press.
Samaritans lobbied to have a new sub-clause added into the Editor’s Code specifically addressing the reporting of suicide in the media.
We were successful, when in 2006, the PCC added a new sub-clause to its code:
Clause 5: Intrusion into Grief and Shock:
5i: In cases involving grief or shock, enquiries must be carried out and approaches made with sympathy and discretion. Publication must be handled sensitively at such times, but this should not be interpreted as restricting the right to reporting judicial proceedings.
5ii: When reporting suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail about the method used.
In January 2016 IPSO updated its suicide clause, making suicide reporting a separate clause in its own right and incorporating the issue of contagion through media reporting:
Clause 5: Reporting Suicide: When reporting suicide, to prevent simulative acts care should be taken to avoid excessive detail of the method used, while taking into account the media’s right to report legal proceedings.