60 Minutes drops suicide story

Tara Brown_smallThe Nine Network has agreed not to broadcast a 60 Minutes story about adolescent suicide following concerns by anti-depression advocates Beyond Blue.

In the Victorian Supreme Court today lawyers told Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth it would not proceed with the report, ‘Searching for Answers’ by reporter Tara Brown.

The outcome follows representatives from Beyond Blue and the Victorian Education Department viewing the material, which was believed to have profiled the issue directly linked to a Victorian school.

Beyond Blue and the Victorian State Government sought an injunction on the story following concerns it could trigger copycat attempts.

Two weeks ago 60 Minutes was thrown into disarray at the last minute when the injunction prevented the story from going to air.

Nine had maintained it had the co-operation of the families involved in the report.

Lifeline: 131 114

Source: The Age


  1. I am a youth worker with over 10 years experience working with young people on the edge, I have lost one to suicide and intercepted 2 and know about another 5 attempts, we do need to talk about it a show like this would bring the conversation into the house hold what to look for the parent I worked with had no idea , both the ones I intercepted the signs were very clear, talk to your children about the small thing and then in return they talk about the big stuff, eat with your children at least once a week at the table there are a lot of lost souls out there but we can’t hide we must talk about the subject

  2. I think it is risky to force an unwilling community to re-experience it in the national spotlight. The community don’t want it to happen again. They would want to get past it.

    I don’t think 60 minutes has the sensitivity or expertise to handle it. It is just another edgy story to them.

  3. This means the families involved in the report have been denied a great opportunity to tell their stories, which is really unfair. Expect them to tell the stories to either Herald Sun or The Age soon.

  4. Actually David @ Green Point you’ve just proved a second time why your comment is wrong – because again you haven’t seen this story so you dont know what it is about – the whole thing might be about how to get help for your condition, but people like you want to sweep it under the carpet like it doesnt exist, regardless of whether you know people who have been affected by it

    And if someone really wants the info, they can go online. I highly doubt one story on 60 Minutes – which noone really knows the content of – is going to see the suicide rate increase ten-fold.

  5. It is a fact that when television shows do an episode about suicide, or feature a story about suicide, the suicide rate for that period of time goes up. Fact is copycats copy what they see and hear. ‘If they can do it, why can’t I”

    I think this issue needs public light. I think it needs be discussed openly so more people are aware. I am definetly against censorship. But how do you do this when the simple airing of the story makes the problem worse?

    These are the issues Beyond Blue is contending with.

    What would you do? If you air the story, people are going to die. that is a fact. If you don’t air the story, the public remains ignorant…

    I don’t have the answers, I wish I did.

    The fact’s mentioned above can be researched, I don’t have the actual sources available to me.

  6. This discussion seems to have taken some very odd tangents. The reason not to air the story is very simple: whenever a suicide is widely reported in the media there is a spike in suicides.
    Do you think Tara Brown somehow found the exclusive on eradicating suicide? That we would all be saved by tabloid journalism?
    In any case, 60 Minutes obviously decided for themselves that it was not a good idea to air it.
    This is not about censorship; it is about possibly saving lives.
    A 60 Minutes story is not worth anyone dying.

  7. People really need to stand up to these sorts of charities and remind them that whilst they do good work, the entire world should not have to revolve around their agendas. Fighting depression is important, but so is freedom of speech. If Beyond Blue wanted to go about this in a mature and respectful manner, they could have voiced their opposition to the story in other ways. Despite what some people seem to think, taking out a court order to stop the media from reporting on a controversial topic is pretty much the textbook definition of censorship.

  8. David @ Green Point

    Sorry DansDans – you’re so wrong. Decades ago the media would not report stories where suicide was a factor. We’d turn a blind eye to the news with the support of the police. Over the past 10 years or so the media has taken a much more responsible position and will report on “mainstream” suicides, but will always point towards a phone number or website that can help people who feel there’s no answer (as David has done with the above). This is the way it’s done now. For the record, I know someone who took to a shotgun after custody problems couldn’t be resolved, and another who couldn’t handle his girlfriend’s parents saying “no” when they wanted to get engaged. His answer? A 22. It’s a mental illness that needs councelling support by professionals like Beyond Blue, not media beat-ups that could trigger similar disasters by those who feel they have nowhere to go.

  9. To all you idiots saying this was the right thing to do – have you seen the story? Do you even know what it is a really about?

    No, I didnt think so. You are typical of the “quick ban it” mentality that we have in Australia thanks to the religious agenda – you lot open your mouth and say everything is bad before you know what you are fighting against. This story could actually help people – like schoolchildren and their parents – to identify bully behaviour and warning signs leading to suicide, but now everyone will be kept in the dark. Information is already hard to find, and we shouldn’t censor something that could help people.

    Suicides are notreported on TV and newspapers for fears of copy-cat behaviour, but until we know the content of this story, to say it was a good thing to ban it is completely and utterly irresponsible

  10. Last time I checked, we were all capable of making our own choices. They have every right to put a story out there, rightly or wrongly. I hate the way everyone is so conservative now about everything when it comes to Tv. If its “in bad taste” etc etc, then let the channel fall over it. I’d rather have seen the article and disagreed with it than argue over something that never really happened. Who knows if it was going to help people or not. Oh well guess places like Beyond Blue etc know the world better than we do and are psychic 🙂

  11. It’s not censorship. It’s the right decision. There are far better qualified organisations that can help people at risk.

    If 60 minutes wants to do a story that helps people, then focus on the hard work done by all the support agencies and volunteers who help people with a huge range of problems. You’ll still get a great story with emotional highs and lows and showing people where they can get help.

    PS, thanks David for including the phone number and link to two support services. Getting help is not an admission of defeat. Getting help is taking advantage of the services that are already out there.

  12. Wow…great precedent. You can slowly start saying goodbye to Australia the lucky country. I guess that’s what you can expect from the government that brought you the great Aussie ‘Clean Feed’ for our internet.

  13. David @ Green Point

    This isn’t a case of censureship. This is a case of one media outlet finally showing some responsibility. Good one, 9. And Beyond Blue for doing what it believes is right.

  14. What has this country come to? Censorship has gone too far. What now? This sets a worrying precedent. Just because an issue is uncomfortable we brush reality under the carpet? These issues need to be confronted, it is a harsh reality, but one that we have to face. I am sick of Australian censorship’s need to keep everyone in the dark and make like we live in a perfect country where bad things don’t happen. Why don’t we just play repeats of two and a half men and the simpsons 24/7, nothings wrong, lalalala….

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