Sunday, 24 February 2008
Bridgend Suicide Coverage
Bridgend is just 20 miles west of Cardiff and it's hard to get your head round the spate of suicides that's happening so near by.
Today, on our way to Swansea and Mumbles, my coursemate Cara and I went to Bridgend. We talked about the way the media has covered the suicides and this week's press conference where the media was heavily criticised.
Assistant Chief Constable David Morris claimed the media contributed to young people committing suicide in Bridgend and that the media is the link between the suicides:
(please ignore the annoying subtitles provided by the YouTube user)
I disagree with him. The media is an easy target for the Assistant Chief Constable. Surely there's something, or a range of factors, more deep-seated that is causing young people to take their own lives. I also believe that blaming the media as a homogeneous group is unfair. Most of the media coverage of the suicides has been perfectly acceptable.
Some of the media has reported the suicides irresponsibly, namely The Daily Mail, The Express, the South Wales Echo and to its shame, The Independent. Weeks ago these papers were telling us that the suicides were linked by an 'internet cult'. This was expressed as fact when it was a made-up theory, used to sell papers.
Whilst I agree that some of the media coverage of the suicides has been irresponsible (and those responsible should be encouraged to change) the Police and local services will have to delve into the minds of youngsters in the area, to get to the bottom of why this keeps happening.