Last Monday I have received seven news alerts to my phone, of which six were about murders and robberies. We should accept the fact that the violence of the country has been increased. Anyway, what about reporting on this (negative news) through media such as television, radio and websites? It is better to investigate and see the repercussions of this.
Professor Dr. Denise Baden (Southampton Business School) who is researching how people are affected by positive or negative news stories suggests that the “framing of news in such a negative and shocking style might be good for business, but it is not good for mental health or society”.
Also, as per findings, “The dynamic appears to be that negative news leads to feelings of powerlessness and apathy – that in the face of terrible happenings we feel unable to do anything about, the most typical response is to turn away. On the other hand, more positively framed stories that focus on reconstruction, rather than destruction, are more likely to inspire a wish to help. Results from the studies also showed a clear preference for more positive news, although there was an acknowledgement that negative news was more likely to grab attention.”
So there is a need to understand the report with responsibility (towards society) is a must.
As we know there are certain suicide cases which are reported without considering the ethical framework leading to unnecessary reactions in society at large. According to theconversation.com, Australian researchers Jane Pirkis and Warwick Blood found there was an association between the non-fictional (news) media portrayal of suicides and actual suicidal behaviours.
In order to avoid suicide contagion and to promote responsible media reporting of suicidal behaviours, several countries have developed or adopted media guidelines in accordance with World Health Organization and International Association for Suicide Prevention recommendations in the past decade(https://theconversation.com/the-facts-about-safe-reporting-of-suicide-9501).
Hence there is a need for all stakeholders (general public, media and administrators) of the country to understand our own responsibilities with the big picture. I would like to see positive news such as ‘Rare corpse flower set to bloom at Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya’ by next Monday morning as the heading of all newspapers as well as in news alert on phones!
(The writer is a Senior Lecturer for Strategic Management and Chartered Marketer, Department of Management Studies, Open University of Sri Lanka. You can reach Dr. Abeysekera on email@example.com.)