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Article

Application of a Scorecard Tool for Assessing and Engaging Media on Responsible Reporting of Suicide-Related News in India

1
Department of Psychiatry, Voluntary Health Services and SNEHA Suicide Prevention Centre, Tamil Nadu 600017, India
2
Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy, Indian Law Society, Pune 411004, India
3
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul S. Links
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126206
Received: 31 March 2021 / Revised: 22 May 2021 / Accepted: 5 June 2021 / Published: 8 June 2021
Background: Each year there are more than 800,000 deaths by suicide across the world, while India alone accounts for one third of female suicides and one fourth of male suicides worldwide. Responsible media reporting of suicide is an important suicide prevention intervention at the population level. There is sufficient evidence to show that the way suicide is reported and portrayed in the media can have a significant impact on individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Recognizing the important role of the media in suicide prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines for responsible reporting of suicides by the media. The Press Council of India, in 2019 endorsed WHO’s guidelines for media reporting of suicides, however there is no evidence that the Indian media is complying with these guidelines. Methods: To encourage responsible media reporting, we developed a scorecard to assess and rate media reports on suicide. We reviewed several resource documents that contained guidelines on responsible reporting of suicide. After consulting with a team of experts, we arrived at a scorecard that consisted of 10 positive and 10 negative parameters. Results: We applied the scorecard to 1318 reports on suicide from 9 English language newspapers, with the highest readership in India between the dates of 1 April to 30 June 2020. For the articles analyzed, the average positive score across all newspapers was 1.32 and the average negative score was 3.31. Discussion: The scorecard can be a useful tool to assess media reports on suicide and provide metrics for the same. It can facilitate improved monitoring and engagement with media organizations, who can quickly check their own reporting compliance to the WHO guidelines and compare how well they are performing compared to their peers over time. View Full-Text
Keywords: suicide; suicide prevention; media reporting of suicide; WHO guidelines on responsible reporting of suicide; media and suicide suicide; suicide prevention; media reporting of suicide; WHO guidelines on responsible reporting of suicide; media and suicide
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vijayakumar, L.; Shastri, M.; Fernandes, T.N.; Bagra, Y.; Pathare, A.; Patel, A.; Jain, P.; Merchant, Y.; Armstrong, G.; Pathare, S. Application of a Scorecard Tool for Assessing and Engaging Media on Responsible Reporting of Suicide-Related News in India. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 6206. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126206

AMA Style

Vijayakumar L, Shastri M, Fernandes TN, Bagra Y, Pathare A, Patel A, Jain P, Merchant Y, Armstrong G, Pathare S. Application of a Scorecard Tool for Assessing and Engaging Media on Responsible Reporting of Suicide-Related News in India. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(12):6206. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126206

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vijayakumar, Lakshmi, Manisha Shastri, Tanya N. Fernandes, Yash Bagra, Aaryaman Pathare, Arpita Patel, Padam Jain, Yesha Merchant, Gregory Armstrong, and Soumitra Pathare. 2021. "Application of a Scorecard Tool for Assessing and Engaging Media on Responsible Reporting of Suicide-Related News in India" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 12: 6206. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126206

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