June 20, 2024


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Rwanda Media regulator calls for ethical reporting on suicide

Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) has called on journalists to consider ethics while reporting on cases of suicide.

This follows public reactions on different social media platforms in which some news reporting on recent suicide cases were deemed unprofessional.

In a statement released Thursday, August 19, the media regulatory body, RMC said they were “concerned about the way news stories on suicide are being published.”

“A journalist has the responsibility of avoiding [language that could] hurt the family of a person who has died by suicide, and this goes with being cautious about publishing pictures and the identity of the person in news stories,” the press release continued.

Speaking to The New Times on Friday, RMC’s Executive Secretary, Emmanuel Mugisha, said that they issued the recommendations after some journalists published sensitive incidents without regarding ethics.

“We’ve been seeing some journalists on social media, especially through their Twitter handles, posting bizarre details of suicides or even accidents, which is really very unprofessional,” Mugisha said.

“So, we released the statement to advise and warn the journalists against showing victims of suicide or accidents in photos. It is shocking and unethical.”

He added that the journalists might have done so in ignorance of professional standards. However, he said RMC would not take disciplinary measures against such unethical behavior.

RMC said that, if reported professionally, news stories about suicide could enlighten society about how to help people with suicidal thoughts.

The regulator also advised the public to contact responsible authorities such as the police, instead of publishing images or videos of people who have died by suicide.


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