Send to

Choose Destination
Australas Psychiatry. 2016 Feb;24(1):26-9. doi: 10.1177/1039856215620030. Epub 2015 Dec 10.

Ethical use of the media by psychiatrists: towards an antipodean formulation of the "Goldwater Rule".

Author information

Clinical Associate Professor, Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Discipline of Psychiatry and Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, and; Honorary Senior Psychiatrist, St Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy, VIC, Australia.



To review the ethical problems posed by the participation of psychiatrists in various forms of lay media and propose a method of resolving quandaries in this area.


We review the potential ethical problems that arise when psychiatrists make contributions to the lay media, particularly when commentary and opinion reflects the views of the individual rather than the profession. The issues raised by the North American injunction known as the "Goldwater Rule" are pertinent to Australasia, particularly when media statements made by psychiatrists may seem to diminish the profession through politicisation, polemic, or bringing the profession and the field into disrepute. We propose a series of reflective questions to assist psychiatrists in Australasia to deliberate on the potential ethical problems arising from their participation in media activities. We conclude that it is for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists to formulate an approach to situations where the media activities of Fellows raise such problems.


Goldwater Rule; ethics; media

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center