Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

Paper sorry over suicide photo

Sunday World newspaper

The Sunday World has apologised for printing a photograph of a man shortly after he had taken his own life.

The paper used the photo in its November 1 edition, prompting anger from suicide awareness groups.

The northern editor of the newspaper initially defended publishing the photograph but in Sunday's edition said he was "genuinely sorry" for using it.

The newspaper has also offered £100,000 of free advertising to suicide prevention groups.

In a special editorial, Northern Editor Jim McDowell said that his apology was "unequivocal and unreserved, to anyone to whom we caused hurt or distress, and to anyone to whom we may have caused offence by publishing the picture."

He said the offer of free advertising was a genuine attempt to provide redress for the error.

"This is not a sop. It is not a stunt. Just like our apology, it is a genuine attempt to help," he said.

"In that regard, we hope to be sitting down with representatives of the Samaritans, Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide (PIPS), Forum for Action on Suicide Awareness (FASA), and any similar organisations who wish to talk to us and avail of the opportunity to promote their message or publish their help-line contact details."

"Shocked"

The decision to publish the photograph was strongly criticised by PIPS.

The newspaper offered its founder, Philip McTaggart, the opportunity to express his views on the publication in Sunday's newspaper.

Mr McTaggart, whose son took his own life, said he was "shocked" when he saw the photograph.

"I believe I am fortunate to have been spared the distress and anguish of seeing my son before the police removed him to the morgue," he said.

"It is six years since I lost my son and I found the photograph and article very disturbing and difficult to deal with as it has brought me back to the start of my grieving process.

"Whilst this was the impact on me, what has been the impact on those who have recently been bereaved in similar circumstances - never mind the impact on the family of this young man?"



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