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Psychiatr Danub. 2013 Sep;25(3):248-54.

Online media report on a Hungarian double suicide case: comparison of consecutively published articles.

Author information

1
Institute of Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Izabella str. 46, 1064 Budapest, Hungary, judit.agnes.balazs@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide. This study explores, how media covered a suicide case in a country, where there was no available guideline, though it was among the leading countries in suicide statistics. The specific aim was to compare the first and second waves of reporting on suicide from the same website.

METHODS:

In 2011, two young women committed double suicide in Budapest, Hungary. We analyzed the first and second waves of the reported articles about this double suicide case, in online daily newspapers, news portals and also the readers' comments.

RESULTS:

Provocative aspects were present in 38.9-100.0% of the articles, while preventive aspects were found in 0-22.2% of the articles. Readers commented in 49.6% "Other Aspects" (comments about all other aspects not belonging to any other category, i.e. Risk Behavior, Family Relations, Suicide Place and Methods, Prevention, Media Style Reporting) and in 25.4% "Without Content" (comments without a specific content: e.g. chatting), while "Prevention" (comments about possible safety preventive measures) was mentioned only in 1.5% of the comments. In 34.1% the emotional tonality of the comments was "Neutral" (indifferent comments: e.g. chatting). Though articles published for the second time were significantly longer than the firstly published ones, the preventive aspects of reporting were not added to the second articles either, but significantly more provocative aspects were found in them.

CONCLUSIONS:

The suicide reports, both in the first and second waves of reporting, were not in line with the recommendation of the international guidelines on suicide reporting. It draws the attention of professionals to the importance of developing national guidelines on media suicide coverage.

PMID:
24048392
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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