Document Type : Research paper


1 1Department of Administration, College of Humanities, University of Raparin, Ranya-44012, Iraq. 2Department of International relations & Diplomacy, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economics, Tishk International University, Erbil-44001, Iraq.

2 Sulaimani Polytechnic University – CDC, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

3 Freelancer Researcher, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Psychosis Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER)

6 King George's Medical University, Lucknow, India

7 JLNM Hospital srinagar

8 Department of Psychiatry, Enam Medical College and Hospital


Background: Mass media has a diverse effect on suicidal behavior and has a significant impact on framing prevention strategies for the general population. However, the quality of news reporting of suicide has not been assessed in Iran adequately specially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aim: The study aimed to evaluate the quality of online news reporting of suicidal behavior in Iran against the World Health Organization (WHO) suicide reporting guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We analyzed the news reports to recognize the reporting characteristics and compared them with the WHO guidelines. A search was carried out in March and April 2021 on Google using the term "suicide news in Iran," and online news stories published in the Farsi language from January to December 2020, were extracted.
Results: A total of 125 news reports was retrieved from thirteen newspapers where all the reports were published in Farsi. Among the reports, 50 (40%) mentioned the name, and 62 (49.6%) mentioned the occupation of the deceased. The name of the method was mentioned in 111 (88.9%) reports, mono causality was reported in 49 (39.2%) reports, the word "suicide" was mentioned in the headline in 117 (93.6%) reports, a method was reported in the headline in 34 (27.2%) reports, and 32 (25.6%) reports published the photo of the deceased. Only four (3.2%) reports mentioned psychiatric disorders, 13 (10.4%) disseminated expert opinion, and none of the reports cited prevention program, helpful contact identity, or education material.
Conclusion: The study showed Farsi news reports were not firmly compliant with WHO guidelines for reporting suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further studies are warranted considering these findings to change into accountable media reporting and to shape the prevention strategies.


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