Home Opinion Featured Articles It Is Wrong to Report Death Before the Family Hears It

It Is Wrong to Report Death Before the Family Hears It

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Elvis Darko
Elvis Darko

Whether you are a journalist or not, learn this from today

Journalists are entrusted with the responsibility of delivering news to the public ethically and responsibly.

One area where this responsibility is particularly crucial is in reporting deaths. Here’s why journalists should not rush to report on deaths:

Minimize Harm
The fundamental principle of journalism ethics is to minimize harm. Reporting a death before the family is aware can cause unnecessary pain and distress, adding to their grief during an already difficult time.

Avoid Cruelty
It is cruel to let a family member learn about the death of a loved one through news reports.
The news of a death should ideally come from a family member or a friend in a private and compassionate setting.

Respect Privacy
Death is a deeply personal and private matter.
Rushing to report on someone’s death without considering the family’s awareness violates their privacy and dignity.

Extreme Circumstances
In rare cases, such as when a deceased individual poses an immediate threat to the public, there may be justification for immediate reporting. For example, in the case of a dangerous criminal still at large, disclosing their death promptly may be necessary to protect the public.

Limited Exceptions
While there may be a few public figures whose deaths require immediate reporting due to their significance, such cases are rare.
Even in these instances, efforts should be made to ensure that the family is informed privately before the news becomes public.

In conclusion, journalists should exercise caution and empathy when reporting on deaths.

While there may be exceptional circumstances where immediate reporting is justified, the general principle should be to prioritize the well-being and dignity of the deceased individual’s family and loved ones.

– Elvis Darko

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