Published: 2021-03-25

Suicide prevention and media reporting: an evaluative study from Chandigarh

Nitasha Sharma, Nidhi Chauhan, Bir S. Chavan, Priti Arun


Background: Responsible reporting represent an evidence-based population-level strategy for suicide prevention.

Methods: The present investigation aimed to evaluate the print media news items in leading newspapers from Chandigarh between January 2015 to December 2016 in terms of compliance to desirable media reporting guidelines issued collaboratively by WHO and International Association of Suicide Prevention.

Results: A total of 284 news item from English and Hindi newspapers were evaluated for compliance using a 12 item checklist. The data was analysed for frequency in terms of compliance to each item of checklist. The compliance was also compared in English and Hindi news papers. 92% of the news items failed to educate public on the complex issue of suicide and related mental illness. 60% news items portrayed it in a sensationalizing way. 98.5% news items revealed the identity of the suicide victim, much in contradiction to what guidelines promote.

Conclusions: There is overall poor compliance to media reporting guidelines. The present study highlights a strong need for a country like India to develop and implement media reporting guidelines at a policy level.


Media, Compliance, News, Suicide

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