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Complainant Name:
Press Complaints Commission

Clauses Noted: 5

Publication: Metro


The Press Complaints Commission has investigated whether an article published in the Metro on 20th November 2008 headlined Tenant used chainsaw to kill himself contained excessive detail about the method of suicide used in breach of Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Code.

The Commission found no breach of the Code.

The article reported the suicide of a man, who had taken his own life using a chainsaw. It referred to the existence of the chainsaw and how it had been activated.

The newspaper considered that the wording was acceptable and within the spirit of the Code.

Not Upheld


Clause 5 (ii) was introduced specifically to prohibit the inclusion of detail that would act, in effect, as a blueprint for the method of a suicide. It is crucial that newspapers abide by its terms, due to the risk of copycat suicides. This means that, particularly in inquest reports (many of which would be provided by external agencies), care needs to be taken in the editing process to remove excessive detail.

The Commission considered that care had been taken to remove such detail. This involved a difficult judgement call, and the newspaper had on this occasion stayed on just the right side of the line. The Commission did not uphold the complaint on that basis.

78 Adjudication issued 02/01/2009

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