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Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2008 Oct;38(5):631-6. doi: 10.1521/suli.2008.38.5.631.

Changes in reporting of suicide news after the promotion of the WHO media recommendations.

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University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam in Hong Kong, China.


Media recommendations on suicide reporting are available in many countries and in different languages. Hong Kong newspapers have been found to be noncompliant with WHO recommendations. A booklet containing WHO media guidelines Preventing Suicide: A Resource for Media Professionals, and an awareness campaign were launched in November 2004 in Hong Kong. Content analysis was then conducted to compare the reporting of suicide news before and after the launch. Results indicate that certain reporting styles were changed in accordance with the recommendations; namely, lessened use of pictorial presentations and headlines mentioning suicides. Most of the changes were attributed to the tabloid-style newspapers. This study suggests that programs to promote media recommendations tailored for journalists appear to be efficacious in altering their way of reporting.

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