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Complainant Name:
Samaritans, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Sane and PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide

Clauses Noted: 5

Publication: The Sun


Samaritans, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Sane and PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published a comment article that breached the terms of Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors' Code of Practice. The complainants considered that the article's use of graphic imagery and a "flippant" tone had violated the dignity of people who had died by suicide and intruded into the grief of their families.


The PCC negotiated a meeting between representatives of Samaritans - acting on behalf of the complainants - and representatives of The Sun to discuss the article and the broader issues of how The Sun and other newspapers deal with issues of suicide and mental health. Following the meeting, The Sun wrote to the PCC to confirm that - notwithstanding the right of its columnist to hold a view that others strongly opposed - it accepted that parts of the column had overstepped the mark and apologised for the offence caused. "It agreed to training in reporting suicide sensitively to be conducted by Samaritans. It also agreed to support the Time to Change campaign against mental health discrimination led by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and to offer training to its staff on mental health reporting." It also agreed to try to liaise with the complainants on issues affecting them in future. In addition, both parties agreed to contribute to future discussions about the terms of Clause 5 of the Code and how it relates to groups of people bereaved in a certain way rather than individual bereavements. The matter was resolved on that basis.

Date Published: 19/04/2012

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