Friday, 27 April 2018

Fact or Fiction?

The recent death of Avicii has brought my attention to how misleading the news and tabloids can be. At this point, Avicii's family have released a statement saying that he 'could not go on any longer', hinting that he might have taken his life, though as far as I can tell, this has not been confirmed. It has astonished me how the media have handled Avicii's death, seeming to disregard any kind of sensitivity and respect to Avicii and his family by making assumptions that practically constitute malicious gossip.

The first article I saw was from the Daily Mail. ( Simply from looking at the subtitles, the newspaper has already made assumptions and encouraged others to think that Avicii's death was due to 'excessive drinking' and 'alcohol related issues', potentially tarnishing Avicii's memory without even waiting to hear for accurate information about his death. This article mentions drinking multiples times, especially in the inclusion of a picture of Avicii the day before his death, drawing attention to how he is 'holding a drink.' The article seems to assume that the drink is alcoholic, and again connote that Avicii's death is alcohol related when there is no such information on the matter. Newspapers are supposed to be objective, yet this is very clearly not, failing to consider the serious nature of deeper mental health issues and physical struggles, and disrespecting Avicii's memory by giving a negative rather than sensitive portrayal of him.

A more recent article by the Daily Mail is also offensive in other ways ( It shows readers pictures of the house where Avicii's body was found as well as the hospital he was taken to, and ridiculously a picture of a wall behind which the property is situated. This is a prime example of tabloid gossip, a splurging of information just to be the first newspaper to say something without thinking of the way that this will be perceived by readers, but more importantly, the family of Avicii.

The Daily Mail is by no means the only newspaper to blame. The Sun's snapchat story this morning was particularly shocking, seeming to state as fact that Avicii left a suicide note, an assumption based on the statement by Avicii's family. Other articles from newspapers such as the Birmingham Mail ( also talk about a suicide note, again taking their assumptions as accurate when no such information has been explicitly proved. This reiterates that newspapers are actually not objective, and I would argue that instead of presenting the public with facts and useful information, they attempt to begin a train of gossiping about untrue and insensitive content, with no consideration for standards of confidentiality and privacy that should always be maintained in the media.

However, not all newspapers follow this bad example. For an objective article about Avicii's death, I would recommend The Independent's article ( It handles intimate and personal information such as Avicii's struggles within the music business with discretion and respect, only using information that was already public and has been officially released by Avicii's family, and presenting this in a formal manner without any hint of subjective opinion.

With an event as serious as death, sensitivity is all the more important in the media, as we have to remember that there are fans and family members who are grieving, and don't deserve to have the memory of their loved one damaged by meaningless reporting, and over-examination or inaccurate assumptions.

It shouldn't matter what the cause of death is because it is not the place of the media to make judgements. Death alone is catastrophic enough, and newspapers and tabloids should be acknowledging and mourning the passing of a music legend, treating the event with the respect and sensitivity it deserves.

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