The EOC calls for objective reporting and portrayal of mental illness in the media
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) denounced a discriminatory headline “癲人出沒”, published in a local newspaper on 2nd December 2012, depicting persons with mental illness as “crazy lunatics”. The EOC is of the view that the article’s text and images are suspected to be appealing to negative public emotions against persons with mental illness.
Mr. LAM Woon-kwong, Chairperson of the EOC, said, “The media has a great influence on how and what we perceive as mental illness. Inaccurate depictions and sensational reports about mental illness can fuel stigma and reinforce myths, thus deterring people with mental illness from seeking help and creating obstacles in their recovery.”
“It is important for media practitioners to achieve a balance between the reporting of an issue of public importance and the objective reporting and portrayal of mental illness. Impartial and unbiased reports not only promote a better understanding of persons with a mental illness, but also strengthen mutual respect in our society, This is critical and beneficial for their rehabilitation and integration into the community,” said Mr. LAM.
Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), it is unlawful to discriminate, harass or vilify a person on the ground of the person’s disability. Disability vilification is an activity in public which incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of people with a disability.
To date, the EOC has received over 130 complaints against the newspaper’s discriminatory headline. The EOC will investigate into these complaints accordingly.
For media enquiries, please contact Ms. Mariana LAW at 2106-2226.
Equal Opportunities Commission
3 December 2012