Press Complaints Commission censures 12 publications for suicide reports
The Press Complaints Commission has found 12 newspaper articles in print and online about the death of a man who decapitated himself using a chainsaw to be in breach of its rules on suicide reporting. Clause 5 (ii) of the press Code of Practice was introduced to minimise the risk of copycat suicides by requiring editors to avoid publishing excessive detail about the method of suicide used. In this case, the newspapers in question had gone further than a simple reference to the fact that the man had used a chainsaw to kill himself. In particular, they had described the manner in which the chainsaw had been activated and positioned. The Commission considered this information to be excessive.
The Commission found that the following publications had breached the Code: the Daily Mirror; Mirror online; The Sun; Sun online; Daily Star; Telegraphonline; Mail online; Metro.co.uk; Independent.co.uk; thelondonpaper.com; dailyrecord.co.uk; crawleyobserver.co.uk.
The Commission acknowledged that the information in the reports, all of which had been heard at the inquest into the manís death, had been provided to the newspapers by a news agency. However, this was not a sufficient defence. Indeed, this case demonstrated the importance of the editing process in removing excessive detail before publication Ė both online and offline.
Articles in the Guardian and the Metro newspaper did not breach the Code.
To see the adjudications in full please click here.
Daily Mirror and Mirror online
For further information please contact Stephen Abell on 020 7831 0022.
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