13 Aug 2010

Publishers say last taboo must be scrutinized

8:56 am on 13 August 2010

The Newspaper Publishers Association says suicide is the last taboo of reporting and must receive more public scrutiny.

The unprecedented publication by the Chief Coroner on Thursday of suicide statistics and the different methods used, has reignited debate on how self-inflicted deaths should be reported.

Self-inflicted deaths average about 540 each year. The road toll in New Zealand last year was 390.

Publishers Association chief executive Tim Pankhurst told Morning Report there are very restrictive legal requirements at present, which is often why the media has to use a kind of code when reporting suicides.

He says there will be a meeting with the association's media freedom committee and the Chief Coroner next month.