MATTHEW FARRELL AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD

Case Number: 2698

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: New Zealand Herald

Ruling Categories: Suicide Reports

Overview

CASE NO: 2698

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF MATTHEW FARRELL AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD

FINDING: NO GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: AUGUST 2018

Matthew Farrell complained that an article on the discovery of several bodies at a particular cliff face in the UK breached reporting standards for reporting on suicide.

The article, published in the New Zealand Herald on June 26, was syndicated from the UKDaily Mail. The issue had received considerable global media attention from the likes of the BBC andHuffington Post.

Mr Farrell noted that the Coroners Act prohibits publication of method of suicide for New Zealand cases and argues that the prohibition should apply across international coverage as well.

He asks that the NZ Media Council issue a precedent ruling to this effect.

The Mental Health Foundation has issued guidelines on suicide reporting in New Zealand and the Media Council has been given correspondence between the Mental Health Foundation and theNew Zealand Herald concerning this article.

The Mental Health Foundation requested that the article be taken down and the Herald, while not necessarily agreeing with the points raised, agreed in this instance to remove the article.

We consider that, this resolution having been achieved, this is not the case for the Media Council to issue a precedent ruling.We wish to encourage such dialogue between the Mental Health Foundation and the industry.

We also note that much of the commentary on suicide currently takes place in social media, which is outside the bounds of both the Mental Health Foundation and the New Zealand Media Council.

Finding: No Grounds to proceed.