The Northern Territory news Sat 4 Sep 2021
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
News Corp Australia
20 NEWS SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 4 2021 Press Council adjudication THE Press Council considered whether its Standards of Practice were breached by an article published by NT News in print on 14 September 2019 headed Man granted hospital leave killed himself. The article reported on a coronial inquest of a young man who committed suicide after being granted leave from the mental health ward at the Alice Springs Hospital despite showing symptoms of psychosis. The article included information heard at the inquest, including details of the mans history with mental health services, his discharge from a hospitals mental health ward while apparently delusional, a prior suicide attempt and his subsequent suicide. Amongst the information included in the article was the location of the suicide and the method used in a suicide attempt, expressed in thoughts about suicide and in the subsequent article. In response to a complaint it received, the Press Council asked the publication to comment on whether the article complied with the Councils Standards of Practice, and specifically whether the details of the suicide methods and locations included in the article were justified in the public interest (Suicide Standard 5); and whether the article gave undue prominence to the reported suicide and/or caused unnecessary harm or hurt to people who have attempted suicide or to relatives and other people who have been affected by a suicide or attempted suicide (Suicide Standard 7). In response, the publication said the article was of substantial public interest as it went to the heart of the quality of medical service and treatment being provided in the Northern Territory. The publication said the inquest was investigating how a man showing signs of psychosis could be released from the mental health ward of a hospital. It noted the decision to release someone said to be visi bly and obviously at risk is a serious issue, particularly as in this instance the man later died. The publication said more so than in major capital cities, the issue of health care in the Northern Territory is of greater public interest and debate especially for the vulnerable and whether they are receiving adequate care. The publication said the inquest was canvassing whether the care and assessment received by this man was part of the circumstances that led to his death, and that few other issues are more deserving of reporting. The publication said it was important and in the public interest to provide some detail of the background and relevant facts in the court proceedings noting the importance of open justice. In relation to Specific Standard 5, the publication said the article only stated that the location was a store room, with no other details given. It said this was very different to publicising a location known for suicide attempts. In relation to Specific Standard 7, the publication said the matter was of significant public interest to report and was not given undue prominence. In this regard, it noted that the article appeared on page 16 without any images; the headline explained clearly why the inquest was investigating the hospitals actions; and the contact details for Lifeline were provided at the bottom of the article CONCLUSION The Councils Standards of Practice relevant to this complaint provide that the method and location of a suicide should not be described in detail unless the public interest in doing so clearly outweighs the risk, if any, of causing further suicides. This applies especially to methods or locations which may not be well known by people contemplating suicide (Specific Standard 5). They also provide that reports of suicide should not be given undue prominence, especially by unnecessarily explicit headlines or images. Great care should be taken to avoid causing unnecessary harm or hurt to people who have attempted suicide or to relatives and other people who have been affected by a suicide or attempted suicide. This requires special sensitivity and moderation in both gathering and reporting news (Specific Standard 7). The Council acknowledges the strong public interest in reporting on the coronial inquest and on the medical care received by the Deceased. It also notes that the description of the location was not specific. However, the Council does not consider it was necessary for the publication to report the method of the Deceaseds attempted suicide and subsequent suicide to the extent it did in order to legitimately scrutinise the health care provided to the Deceased. Accordingly, the Council concludes that Specific Standards 5 was breached. As to Specific Standard 7 in relation to sensitivity and moderation, the Council recognises that although the family of the Deceased would likely find the article distressing, given the death was the subject of an inquest it does not consider the article was unduly prominent or unnecessarily explicit. The Council also recognises there is public interest in reporting on the quality of medical services and treatment being provided in the Northern Territory. Accordingly, the Council finds Specific Standard 7 was not breached. Note: If you or someone close to you requires personal assistance, please contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. WET WEATHER FORECAST AUSTRALIAS warm start to spring was set to evaporate as a strong cold front marched across the nations southeast on Friday. Heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and possible hail is set to wreak havoc along the east coast, with severe weather warnings in place for damaging winds and flooding. Meteorologist Jackson Browne said heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding would develop over southeast states on Friday. A significant cold front that tapped into a band of tropical moisture moved east into Victoria, Tasmania and western NSW overnight, Mr Browne said. A severe weather waring for damaging winds was issued for Victorias alpine regions. A flood watch had been issued for the northeast, central and Gippsland regions of Victoria, with minor to isolated moderate flooding possible in 22 rivers and catchments from Saturday. A severe weather warning for damaging winds was issued in NSW for parts of the Snowy Mountains, while a moderate to minor flood warning is in place for the Lachlan River. In Victoria and NSW, damaging winds with gusts of 110km/h to 120km/h are possible over alpine areas, with gusts of 90km/h expected over the northern suburbs of Melbourne and the Dandenongs, Mr Browne said. The front continues to progress east into NSW on Saturday and Sunday, and a low pressure system may form in the east of Bass Strait. JACK PAYNTER
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