Terror Coverage can cause psychological distress

NicePeople react near flowers placed on the road in tribute to victims, two days after an attack by the driver of a heavy truck who ran into a crowd on Bastille Day killing scores and injuring as many on the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice, France, July 16, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The media’s coverage of terrorist attacks can make people shocked and oversimplify the situations, according to researchers.

– I do not think it is strange that many pull away if the impressions which are too strong and coverage over emotional, said Trond Heir, psychiatrist and researcher at the National Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, to newspaper Vårt Land.

He and his colleagues found a correlation between how much people exposed themselves to media coverage and psychological distress when they examined the media coverage of the terrorist attacks in Norway on July 22nd. Other research shows that media coverage can cause problems in people who are already vulnerable, especially in the area of depictions of children affected or from individuals who experienced the events up close and give explicit details.

– What we need from the media is the more factual description so that we can relate overall to the action, without being too overwhelmed or pulling us away.

Media researcher Yngve Benestad Hågvar at Oslo and Akershus University College told the newspaper that news coverage creates a simplified “us-against-them” -news picture that may harm the public debate, as when a Danish newspaper used the title “Now they hurt children” about the Nice-attack .

– The newspaper creates a “they” that they assume the attacker is a part of, although his motives have yet to be clarified.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today