In light of Mind’s statement today, Hacked Off calls on the chair of IPSO, Sir Alan Moses, to condemn  the obvious and dangerous breaches of the Editors’ Code in the coverage by some newspapers of the death of the actor Robin Williams.

Joan Smith, Executive Director of Hacked Off, said: ‘Much of today’s coverage of the apparent suicide of Robin Williams is sensational and speculative. It is a clear breach of the Editors’ Code which states “when reporting suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail about the method used” and we call on Sir Alan Moses to condemn it. He has been in post long enough to be familiar with the guidance on reporting suicides, and he has a duty to remind editors of their responsibilities in this matter.’

Mind issued a briefing to news desks twice yesterday with information on how to report suicide in a responsible way as there is clear evidence that media coverage of suicide, particularly graphic language illustrating the method used, can lead to copycat deaths.

These guidelines and codes of practice are not just about taste and decency, they are about saving lives – since copycat suicides and suicide attempts are a well recognised phenomenon after celebrity deaths.

The following newspapers have been criticised on social media for their reporting of William’s death: The Star, The Mirror, The Metro, The Sun and Daily Mail.

Hacked Off calls for Sir Alan Moses to send a message to these newspapers and editors behind them who have breached these codes, that he is serious about raising standards.

Hacked Off, in common with most of the public and their elected representative, believes that press abuse will only be tackled if Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations are implemented. That means a truly effective and independent self-regulator of the press, which is independently approved as such under the Royal Charter. IPSO, the new version of the PCC, fulfils none of these requirements and is another sham regulator.


Mind’s statement can be found here.

The Samaritans’ guidelines can be found here.

Recent criticism of the inadequate PCC response to suicide coverage in Bridgend can be found here.

Hacked Off Executive Director Joan Smith is available for comment.

Please contact press@hackinginquiry.org or +44 (0) 7554 665 940 for more information.

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Gary Gatterreply
August 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Amazing that after all that has happened IPOS (come off it, they are the PCC everyone knows it) still gets it so wrong.

Trevor Parkerreply
August 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

This is typical of media reporting
Jumping in on the bandwagon and printing speculation as fact.
They will print everything nice they can find to pull in readers.
Followed by every bit of dirt they can find thats not so nice.
Followed by sheer fiction.
Time and time again. No thoughts for those left behind suffering.
When will someone have the guts to confront the media once and for all.
And put Freedom of Press in its proper box.

August 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Ridiculous – just what we’ve come to expect from the gutter press and why an independent body is so important! We should also shift focus to encouraging the (hopefully) new Labour government to guarantee to it’s development when it comes to power.

Greg Martinreply
August 13, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I believe Sir Alan Moses leads a toothless, in effective bunch of sheep who will do nothing about this matter or any further breaches.
I would love to be proved wrong but I doubt I will be.

Geoff Murrayreply
August 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Theres a suprise . Yet another attempt to cash in by Murdoch’s gutter press

August 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

“The following newspapers have been criticised on social media for their reporting of William’s death: The Star, The Mirror, The Metro, The Sun and Daily Mail” – no surprises there then. And since stooges of those newspapers are behind IPSO/PCC, I bet there’ll be no meaningful censure either.

mark oliffreply
August 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Lowlife scum reporters etc

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