Disability activist: Coverage of assisted suicide needs to be improved

A disability activist and campaigner against assisted suicide has urged the media to include more perspectives and signpost readers to support services in stories covering the issue.

Commenting on media coverage of ‘assisted dying’ Dr Miro Griffiths, an expert advisor on disability and spokesman for the Better Way campaign, said:

“I am concerned that some coverage of assisted suicide fails to approach the issue with due balance and sensitivity. For one thing, many media outlets have unquestioningly accepted the language of ‘assisted dying’, which has no standing in law and is misleading.

“It is common to see articles putting forward perspectives from those who want to legalise doctor assisted suicide without any counter comment from the many groups who oppose a change, and who stand to be significantly affected. The disabled people’s community is one such group.

“It is also regrettable to see a false narrative claiming ‘religious groups’ are the most, or perhaps the only, groups opposed to assisted suicide. Opposition is found among people of every religious and philosophical perspective including atheists, humanists, agnostics, and people of faith.

“Members of our campaign come from a range of perspectives and are also informed by their expertise in the spheres of medicine, academia, disability activism, and ethics. We would like to see various opposing views brought into the debate surrounding this highly divisive issue.

Assisted suicide involves people taking their own lives and this issue seriously impacts some readers. Some outlets signpost to suicide prevention organisations and other services when covering this sensitive issue. We’d like to see every outlet doing this.


Notes for editors

Better Way opposes assisted suicide, sets out an alternative vision, and provides a platform for marginalised voices.

The campaign is supported by experts in several fields including medicine, disability advocacy, and sociology.

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