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Suicide reportage in Malawi

News   Chapter Banda   July 31, 2019
PIC: Namusanya during the presentation
The Malawi Polytechnic July Session of the Raphael Tenthani Series on Friday 26, highlighted the fundamental factors that influence the coverage of suicide stories by the Malawi Media

The event which took place at the institution’s Chichiri Campus in the Raphael Tenthani Centre for Media Excellence brought together key stakeholders in the Media industry, academia and corporate world. 

The presentation titled ‘Malawian Media Presentation of Suicide stories’ was done by an Adjust member of Language and Communication Department at The Polytechnic and Columnist with the Daily Times, Dave Namusanya.

Namusanya started his presentation with a brief history on how suicide stories are being reported by various media globally.   

“Most suicide stories globally, various media houses do not include methods used for one to commit suicide in their reportage. For example, in New Zealand, in their suicide reportage they just put numbers of the ones who have committed and help lines at the end of an article,” He explained.

However, he pointed out some factors that affect suicide stories coverage among Malawian Media which  includes; legal issues, religious belief, professionalism and cultural issues.

Namusanya further suggested that Malawian media should focus on social responsibility and functionalist theories in their suicide reportage so the public should understand it clearly. 

“We would love Malawian media perform various functions in their suicide reportage that can help to stop suicide rates and protect the vulnerable Malawians,” he said.

One of the participants, a Nation Publication Limited Journalist, Mercy Malikwa said the presentation has provoked a thought which most media practitioners do not consider when writing stories on suicide cases.

“I think the issues raised are pertinent and they need to be thought through properly by all media practitioners, “Malikwa said.


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