Media reporting

The media may want to report on the death of your loved one – to explain what has happened to the general public and to speak about any aspects of public interest.

Journalists may want to report on the death of your loved one at a time when you may still be struggling to come to terms with what has happened. They may want to film you and your family, or use images of your loved one. You may see images of your loved one in an unexpected context and sometimes in a way that has been ‘sensationalised’.

During court hearings, the media may want to film you going in and out of the court building and may seek comments from you. The Victoria Police Media Unit can assist you to develop a plan for dealing with the media.

They have produced a Media Guide for Families and Loved Ones. For a copy of the guide or for further information contact the Victoria Police Media Unit. Your rights in relation to media reporting You are not under any obligation to speak to the media. If you decide not to deal with the media you can refer them to the Victoria Police Media Unit or the informant.

Strategies for dealing with the media

The way you deal with the media can have an impact, either positive or negative, on the way they treat you. If you do not feel able to deal with the media you can nominate someone to speak on behalf of you and your loved one.

You can then direct media enquiries to that person.
Comments you make to the media early on in the process, particularly about the accused, may have an impact on any upcoming legal proceedings. It might be useful to speak with the Victoria Police Media Unit, or informant, about what you want to say and how best to avoid saying something that may negatively affect the trial.

You can prepare a written statement instead of answering questions or being interviewed. You can discuss the content of the statement and how it will be distributed with the Victoria Police Media Unit, the informant or the Victims’ Advisory Unit.

Speaking to the media

If you want to speak to the media you have the right to have the facts reported honestly and accurately.

If an inaccurate report is published you have the right to have it corrected. You can choose:

  • who you give an interview to
  • when and where you are interviewed
  • which questions you will answer.

Making a complaint about the media

If you believe the media or a particular journalist has acted unprofessionally or inappropriately you can speak with the Victoria Police Media Unit.

Alternatively, you can lodge a formal complaint with the Australian Press Council or the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

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