Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2020), 50(5), 948-962. SIEC No: 20230121
Objective Media recommendations for the reporting of events where one person or a small group kills multiple others in public settings have been developed recently by suicide prevention experts. Evidence on the effects of reports that are compliant or noncompliant with these recommendations is lacking. Methods We conducted a randomized controlled trial with n = 148 participants who were randomly assigned to read newspaper articles (A) on acts of terrorism assumed to be conducted by Islamist terrorists and not consistent with media recommendations, (B) the same articles differing only in their compliance with recommendations, or (C) articles of similar style that were about homicide. Islamophobia as well as suicidal ideation, stress, and mood were measured before reading the article (T1), immediately afterwards (T2), and one week later (T3). The primary hypothesis was that there is an increase in islamophobia after exposure to media portrayals not consistent with media recommendations. Results Compared to the control group, only participants reading media reports that were not consistent with media recommendations showed a short-term increase in islamophobia. Conclusion These findings suggest that reporting on terrorism that is not consistent with media recommendations appears to increase islamophobia. In the context of reporting on Islamist terrorism, consistency with recommendations might help reduce negative attitudes toward Muslim minorities.