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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 09:13 GMT
Complaint over 'suicide' coverage
Sir Christopher Meyer
Sir Christopher said journalists had "every right to report" on the deaths
The chairman of the Press Complaints Commission says he has received one complaint about coverage of the apparent suicides in the Bridgend area.

Sir Christopher Meyer told BBC Wales' Dragon's Eye programme the complaint related to an inaccuracy in a report.

But he said journalists had "every right to report" on the deaths.

Vincent and Sharon Pritchard, whose son Nathaniel, 15, died, have said reports "glamorised" ways of taking one's life to young people.

Addressing a press conference at South Wales Police headquarters on Tuesday, Mr and Mrs Pritchard said: "We have lost our son and the media reporting of this has made it more unbearable.

"We feel the media coverage could trigger other people who are already feeling low to take their own lives."

'Newsworthy'

Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon has also said the media were "now part of the problem".

Sir Christopher said he would be speaking to Ms Moon next week and he expected her to make a complaint.

He said schools and other organisations in the affected area had been told of their rights regarding the press.

However, Sir Christopher said: "This is something which the press have every right to report on.

"It is something which is newsworthy in an entirely justifiable way.

"My concern at the PCC is that journalists do not behave in a way that breaches our code of practice, which covers intrusion into grief particularly, and harassment of the friends and relatives of those who have tragically died."

Responding to anecdotal evidence of elements of harassment and money being offered to families for interviews Sir Christopher said the commission had heard the evidence but needed "hard facts".

But he said the commission had tightened its regulations on reporting suicides and Sir Christopher stressed reporting too much detail was unacceptable.

  • Porthcawl Counselling Service has asked Health Minister Edwina Hart for help to cope with the demands it faces.

    The service, in Bridgend county, said its only income came from its own fundraising, despite an increase in demand for its services.

    Mrs Hart said she "understands the role of counselling services across Wales", and would respond to the service once she had read its letter.



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