On July 22, online media in Kosovo reported on a case of suicide in Prishtina by identifying the victim and misreporting key details. This sensationalistic reporting follows a long trend of tabloid-style and unethical journalism on suicide where families of the victim have often been exposed to unwanted attention. At times, media outlets have also included explicit details about the method of suicide, which can trigger vulnerable people and potentially provoke more suicides.
According to police statistics, there were 40 suicides in Kosovo in 2020 and 101 attempts. In 2021, there were 41 suicide and 130 attempts. Since its founding in 2019, the Kosovar suicide prevention hotline Linja e Jetës has had over 4,000 calls from people seeking help. Suicide must not be an opportunity for sensationalist headlines, but instead be treated as the pressing public health issue that it is.
Because of the sensitive nature of this topic, it is important that media coverage adhere to reporting guidelines that have been shown to reduce the risk of additional suicides and dispel myths about the issue. Just as journalists report on Covid vaccines and public health measures related to the pandemic, the media has a responsibility to inform the public about the causes of suicidal feelings, warning signs and resources for suicide prevention services so that vulnerable people can seek help. Following these guidelines can save lives.
To discuss the topic of suicide in our society and the media’s treatment of the issue, we will be joined by:
- Bind Skeja, Executive Director of Linja e Jetës, activist, and mental health advocate,
- Donika Çeta, Legal Expert at the Group for Legal and Political Studies.
The discussion will be moderated by K2.0 editor Aulonë Kadriu.
The talk will be held at Hub 2.0 on Friday, September 19 starting at 17:30. Translation to English and Serbian will be provided.
This event is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.
Feature image: Dina Hajrullahu / K2.0.