Today’s SCMP on how the Hong Kong media reports suicides:
Experts from HKU centre say irresponsible reporting may trigger epidemic of people taking their lives and put pressure on families
Jennifer Ngo | South China Morning Post | Sunday, 08 September, 2013
Irresponsible media reporting of suicides encourages copycats and may even trigger an epidemic, warn experts from the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention. It also caused additional hurt and put pressure on victims' families, a seminar heard yesterday. [..]
The centre yesterday released a guideline for media, developed with the Hong Kong Press Council, on how to report suicide cases ethically and avoid becoming a catalyst for copycat suicides.
Apple Daily is probably the worst offender, but the South China Morning Post (which presumably likes to think of itself as a respectable newspaper) is also guilty of reporting suicides in an irresponsible way, with information that can only have come from the police and speculation about why the individual chose to take their own life.
Surprisingly, The Standard seems to be more responsible than the SCMP, managing at least to keep its reports more factual.
I have been told that the reporting of suicides has improved compared to a few years ago, but it still falls a long way short of the guidelines that have been adopted by most British newspapers. The story does not state whether any newspaper has committed to follow these new guidelines.
- A suicide incident should not be placed on the front page of a newspaper or a media website unless it is in the public interest or is of grave public concern.
- Avoid using a large headline when reporting a suicide incident.
- Media websites should avoid cross-references with other suicide incidents reported on the website. Cross-references should instead be made to websites providing mental health services.
- Avoid reporting past suicide incidents repeatedly.
- Extra care should be taken when handling suicide incidents that involve notable persons, as their behavior is likely to be replicated because many view them as heroes or role models.
2. News Content
- Avoid a detailed description of the suicide method or process.
- Avoid using an emotional or glorifying tone to describe the suicidal behavior.
- Avoid describing suicide as a solution.
- Avoid presuming the reason for the suicidal behavior or simplifying the reason behind the suicide.
3. Use of Photographs
- Avoid printing sanguinary, violent, revolting and/or pornographic photos.
- Handle photos of the suicide victim or the suicide scene with care, and pixelate or blur the picture when appropriate.
- Do not use made-up conversation or plots to describe the suicide process, consequences of or reason for the suicide.
- Avoid using computer graphics or animation to describe the process, consequences of or reason for the suicide.
- Avoid enlarging photos of suicides or suicide attempts, such as photos depicting a person jumping off a building.
Appreciation of Privacy
- Respect the victim’s family privacy to avoid adding to their pain and sorrow.
- Consideration should be given to the victim’s friends and family. Avoid the over reporting of a suicide incident, as it might affect their emotional recovery.
Education and Prevention
- Consider including the signs of suicidal behavior in news reports to alertpeople who could offer help to people at risk of suicide.
- Provide solutions and ways to seek help whenever possible in news reports,such as through comments and opinions from psychologists, social workers and teachers.
- Provide information on and contact details for mental health and counseling services in news report to assist and support at risk people and their families.
It’s hard to believe that Apple Daily would sign up for this, but surely the South China Morning Post could do so.
I have read this several times, but I still don’t understand. Aren’t all leading Conservative politicians in the UK also Tories?
By ANDREW GIMSON | Time Magazine | Monday, Apr. 16, 2012
Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic are in crisis. To British eyes, the race for the Republican nomination looks like a disaster, with no consensus emerging about what a modern Republican party can offer. But U.K. Conservatives do not appear to have any solution to the ideological morass of their American cousins.
A cursory glance might lead you to another conclusion. That's because British Prime Minister David Cameron is nominally a Tory, and so is the country's other major Conservative political figure, London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Wikipedia has this to say:
Tory - Current Usage
In Britain after 1832 the Tory Party was replaced by the Conservative Party, and "Tory" has become shorthand for a member of the Conservative Party or for the party in general. Many Conservatives still call themselves "Tory" to differentiate themselves from opponents, and the term is common in the media.
Boris Johnson? All very well as London mayor (Boris or Ken – what a choice) but does anyone really seriously believe that he could become prime minister? Being tipped as a future party leader is pretty much a guarantee that it won’t happen.
The Sun really is a ridiculous newspaper. Their front page today has this nonsense about a ‘Brown Monday’:
DEFEATED Gordon Brown yesterday sparked fears of a City meltdown after trying to hijack a Tory-Lib Dem deal for a unity government.
His bid to rise from the dead by persuading the Lib Dems to prop him up raised the prospect of a stock market "Brown Monday".
World markets were expected to dump the Pound as the deadlock at Westminster continued to cause widespread political and financial chaos.
A deadline for coming to a coalition deal last night was missed - opening up the prospect of a massive wobble when the markets opened at 7am today.
Mr Brown made a desperate late bid to get the Lib Dems on side.
Despite claiming he was acting in the nation's interests, his meddling was not welcome by City experts as he threatened Nick Clegg's delicate talks with David Cameron.
City experts? Pah.. So how is the Pound? Here’s The Guardian
9.49am: Looking at Britain again, and the pound has strengthened against the dollar to a morning high of $1.4984 (from $1.48 last Friday). This has compounded (for now at least) speculation of a 'Brown Monday' on the markets as investors ditched the pound because of fears of a Hung Parliament.
12.04pm: The pound perks up after the Bank of England's decision to leave interest rates on hold. It rose 1.4% against the dollar to hit the day's high at $1.5017, but was little changed against the euro.
Appropriately enough, it was while waiting to travel in cattle class that I read this article in Newsweek about flying in a first class suite on the new Airbus A380 (A Room of One’s Own).
What really horrified me was this part:
From the moment you arrive (generally in a dedicated hall decked out like a fancy hotel), you are greeted by a personal attendant, a kind of butler/sherpa who quietly whisks you toward your aircraft, sending you sailing through exclusive check-in, passport control, and security lanes so fast you barely have time to unlace your shoes.
Such personal attention is seductive—and dangerous, as I discovered on the first leg of my journey. On my way out of New York, I was so distracted by the presence of my minder that I temporarily forgot my suitcase on the X-ray belt.
Oddly, the online edition goes no further, but if you read the print edition you will know that the journalist only realized his mistake as the plane was about to take off. That’s unlucky, you might think. Well, yes, except that Singapore Airlines allowed him to disembark and go back to pick up his bag. This delayed the takeoff by 40 minutes.
Now, if I were onboard an A380 waiting to fly long-haul, I would feel very upset if I had to wait that long because an absent-minded passenger had left something behind.
So is it just coincidence that this tale (which I think reflects badly on both the journalist and the airline) is missing from the online edition?
Time magazine has a story about Santander: The Most Boring Bank in the World. Except that it seems not to be so boring:
Santander's only stumble has been steering some of its private-banking clients into Bernard Madoff's Ponzi machine through its Geneva-based Optimal hedge funds. It moved fast to make good, offering to repay 100% of the sums invested. Santander says 94% of its Madoff victims have accepted, costing the bank $648 billion at current exchange rates. It also returned $235 million to the Madoff estate in a settlement of claw-back claims with U.S. trustee Irving Picard.
Still, for a bank that can get a bit smug about its meticulousness, the Madoff stain, albeit minor, will be hard to rub out. It's also one of the reasons why Santander's private-banking business is in the red. "We were caught in a fraud, but it was still a mistake," concedes chief financial officer Juan Antonio Alvarez.
$648bn is a really big mistake. Talking of mistakes, I wonder if possibly the figure should be $648 million. Just a thought.
It seems as if iPhone applications are the latest bright idea that newspapers and magazines have for generating revenue. It's an odd fact that people do seem willing to pay for stuff on mobile phones (and particularly on the iPhone), but not for a subscription to a website.
So I was interested to see that The Spectator has an iPhone app. They charge just 99 cents for the application, including a 7 day subscription, and you can extend the subscription for an extra 99 cents per week. Sounds like a good ide - or it would be if it wasn't such a hopelessly bad application.
Incredibly, all you get are screen images of each page, and of course they are unreadable if you display a full page. Yes, you can zoom in but then you can only see part of the page and it's incredibly awkward to read an article like that (scrolling down the first column, then down the second column).
Aha, you think, I'll turn my iPhone on its side. Well, yes you can, but now you get a "cover flow" type thing showing all the pages. Gee, thanks.
It's as if the person who designed this had never used an iPhone. At this point I gave up and decided I had wasted my money.
The Guardian is planning to release an iPhone app, and one has to assume that they'll do a better job than The Spectator.
Today's SCMP has a big story on the front page of the City section informing us that Cable TV would like to provide a free-to-air television channel. They say that it's unfair that TVB has a Pay TV service and free-to-air terrestrial channels, but no-one else is allowed to do both. Which seems like a fair point.
Indeed, it was a point that Cable TV's very own spokesman put forward in a letter in Tuesday's edition of the SCMP - though you wouldn't know this from reading the story in today's paper.
If anyone at the SCMP actually read the letters before they publish them, they would presumably have had the wit to put the story in Tuesday's paper and not make themselves look like idiots by running it 24 hours later.