April 28: Symposium on Suicide and the Media

A symposium, Suicide and the Mass Media: An International Perspective will be held on April 28 2010 from 15:00 – 17:00 in the Council Chamber, Meng Wah Complex, HKU.

Jointly organised by the Kong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, The Department of Social Work and Social Administration and the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, all at Hong Kong University.

Suicide is a serious public health problem. Evidence-based studies have demonstrated that presentations of suicide in news and information media can influence copycat acts. On the other hand, responsible reporting following media guidelines may educate the public about suicide and encourage those at risk of suicide to seek help.

During the symposium, three eminent researchers in the field of suicide and mass media will share their studies about the mass media in Australia, Austria, and Hong Kong. The symposium aims to provide a thoughtful and meaningful discussion platform for academic researchers, media professionals, and general public who are interested in understanding the dynamic between media reporting and suicide.

Three speeches will be given, followed by a Q&A session.

JPerkis

Jane Perkis

Speech 1. Suicide and the media: What we know and what we don’t know.

Presenter: Professor Jane Pirkis, Director of the Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics at the University of Melbourne. Perkis has been responsible for a number of evaluations of national and state mental health and suicide prevention programs. She has also conducted a number of large-scale studies on the epidemiology of suicide among the general population and among particular at-risk groups, such as people with mental illness. She has a particular interest in the influence of media reporting of suicide on actual suicidal behaviour. As well as looking at press coverage of suicide in Australia, she will also discuss what makes stories about suicide ‘newsworthy’.

Thomas Niederkrotenthaler

Thomas Niederkrotenthaler

Speech 2. Suicide prevention by collaboration with the mass media: An European perspective.

Presenter: Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, MD, an Assistant Professor at the Center for Public Health, Department of General Practice and Family Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna. He did his PhD in the field of suicide prevention by collaboration with the mass media and has published several studies on the content of suicide stories and their effects on suicidal behaviour in the population. Based on the Austrian experience, where there are guidelines for reporting suicide, the presentation will discuss “best practices” for implementing media recommendations and sustaining any effects of such interventions. Niederkrotenthaler is currently working on the implementation of media guidelines for reporting on suicide at a European level.

Fu King Wa

Fu King Wa

Speech 3. Internet and suicide: a case study on animated suicide stories in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Presenter: King-wa Fu, PhD, a Research Assistant Professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC), HKU. His research focuses on the media’s influence on mental health/suicide, health communication, research method, measurement, and statistics in journalism. He was a journalist at the Hong Kong Economic Journal. His CV can be found here.
There is currently very limited research that looks into the influence of the internet on suicidal behaviour and this talk aims to give an overview of the current research. Fu will then present a case study with textual analysis to illustrate an emerging way of mediating suicide – animated suicide stories by Hong Kong and Taiwan Apple Daily News-in-Motion (動新聞).

The event will be moderated by Professor Paul Yip, Director of the HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP) and Professor of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU

Venue: Council Chamber, 8/F, Meng Wah Complex, HKU.
Admission: Free but please register here
Any queries please contact: Ricky Yau 2241-5013