Suicide reporting

Chester Borrows announced:

The Law Commission will review the rules governing the media’s reporting of suicide, Courts Minister Chester Borrows said today.

The Coroners Act 2006 currently restricts the information that can be made public about a self-inflicted death without the authorisation of the coroner.  Concern that some aspects of the restrictions are unclear was raised during the recent review of the Coroners Act.

The law says you can not publish the particulars of any suicide without the permission of the Coroner. But it is unclear if just publishing the fact a death was a suicide is a particular. The media generally hold that it is not, while health groups say it is.  I’ve certainly on a couple of occasions have reported a suicide was a suicide when it was widely known that it was, and there was no doubt.

The Law Commission is a good body to review the law, and I look forward to engaging on this issue. It is sensible that the law should be clear. For my 2c I think you should be able to call a suicide a suicide when there is no doubt about it – but I agree details of the suicide should generally not be revealed.

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