15 February, 2009

Suicide, economics and journalism

Partly in response to my earlier post about a report in el-Badeel linking an increasing suicide rate with unemployment, Mustafa Hussein, a physician working in the El Nadeem Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, wrote an interesting post about the stigmatization of mental illness in arab media, among other things.

I agree with most of his points, and maybe I should point out that when I post summaries of articles like these it doesn't necessarily mean that I guarantee their accuracy. In this case, the original article refered (without any critical scrutiny) to an alarming report used by an independent MP to criticize the government's economic policies, and the numbers mentioned should definitely not be taken for granted. There are problems not only with scientific method but with journalistic standards here. Ideally the reporter should at least have asked some independent psychiatrist to comment on the claims made in the report.

I still found the report interesting, however, because the fact that a politician could deem it useful to present this kind of argument (and journalists find it worth reporting) says something about the general outlook of the Egyptian public towards the state of the economy. Anyway, by blogging this item at least I provoked an interesting discussion...

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