To all the caring journalists out there …


newspapersThe legal clause concerning discrimination states that the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person’s race, color, religion, sex or sexual orientation, or to any physical or mental illness or disability. Details of an individual’s race, color, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability, must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story being reported.

Another clause states that when reporting a suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail about the method used. People detained under the mental health act are patients, so language like caged or jailed are inaccurate. It warns against the use of words such as basket case, schizo or nutcase. Not only can such language cause distress to patients and their families by interfering detrimentally with their care and treatment, it can also create a climate of public fear and rejection.

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