Bulgaria’s electronic media regulator urges restraint in coverage of self-immolations
Against a background of a series of people setting themselves on fire during the past weeks of nationwide protests, Bulgaria’s statutory Council for Electronic Media (CEM) has called on television stations to exercise restraint and sensitivity in their coverage.
The statement was issued after CEM discussed a report on the coverage at its most recent meeting.
The media should not be showing traumatic images, such as details of charred clothing from the scene or visuals of faces that allowed them to be clearly identified. Journalists should avoid secondary victimisation of relatives of the victims.
The most serious problem was that journalistic interpretations of self-immolations and other forms of self-harm as a form of protest would encourage other people to do the same.
CEM said that in modern civilisation, nothing had higher value than human life. There was no cause that could be a reason for such sacrifices. Still less was there justification for seeking such sensational or political effects, the council said.