The Samaritans’ website right now tells “Lorna Fraser, Samaritans' Media Adviser describes speaking to editors as a ‘great opportunity to share our media guidelines and free training and advice services with local and regional editors this week, thanks to IPSO and Dept. of Journalism at Derby University. It’s really encouraging to see press placing such importance on responsible reporting of suicide’”. Tell us more.
Reporting on those who may have taken their own lives is something that should be done thoughtfully and sensitively. As the Samaritans also point out, “Research shows that inappropriate reporting of suicide may lead to imitative or ‘imitational’ behaviour, so Samaritans publishes Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide and has been working with the media for more than two decades, providing expert advice on the portrayal of suicide”.
Moreover, “The media can also help encourage people who are struggling to reach out for support and raise awareness of sources of help, such as Samaritans”. Sadly, this idea has not penetrated the world inhabited by the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, and especially their smirking deputy political editor Steve Hawkes.
Hence today’s disgracefully insensitive front page splash “Axed Labour Minister Dies … RIDDLE OF ‘SEX PEST’ SUICIDE … He’d begged party to tell him claims”. This is about Carl Sergeant, who was a minister in the Welsh Assembly Government, who had been sacked as a minister and suspended from the party after allegations were made against him. But for the Murdoch goons, he is a convenient excuse to bash Labour.
You think I jest? “The Sun can reveal solicitors acting for him wrote to Labour bosses over the weekend to warn he was suffering from distress and anxiety over not knowing details of the claims against him … A source said: ‘Labour were warned it was affecting his mental health’ … All that tragic Mr Sargeant had been told on Friday was that the allegations centred on ‘groping, unwanted attention and inappropriate touching’”.
The usual Sun drivel, along with the inevitable “A source said”, otherwise known as the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker making it up as they go along. Also in this vein is the ubiquitous “insider”. “One Welsh Labour insider last night said: ‘Carl’s death has shown that in its frenzy to be politically correct the Labour Party has lost all sense of justice’”. Yes, someone took his own life and it’s all the Labour Party’s fault.
Nothing to do with the Murdoch goons, and their fellow press boot boys, laying into Labour for not taking the action they are now taking, then. The desperation of this article is then made clear when Hawkes turns to Tory MP Nigel Evans for comment. That would be the same Nigel Evans who may be keen to take the heat off himself because his name, whisper it quietly, appears on That Spreadsheet. He could have said nothing, but didn’t.
Once again, any sensitivity in reporting suicide is thrown out of the window in the dash for sales and clicks. And IPSO can make as many gestures as it likes in support of the Samaritans - because, at the end of the day, the only gesture that counts is the two-fingered one being made by the Murdoch goons to everyone else. Don’t buy the Sun.