Sometimes victims of crime and their experiences are of interest to the television, radio, newspaper and other media. Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether to speak to the media. You should not feel pressured to do so.
To help you decide whether you should speak to the media, you might want to think about the following:
- speak to people you trust or to a victim support service about what to do;
- sometimes the media's reporting may be different to what you expect and may contain information that you find upsetting;
- you and your family may attract unwanted attention;
- other people may know or guess about what has happened to you;
- if the interview is recorded or you provide a photo, you will not have control over how it is used now or in the future;
- if the matter is still being investigated or is before the courts, you might need to check with the police or the prosecutor that anything you say won't affect the case.
If you decide you want to speak to the media, there are a few things you might want to consider: You can:
- prepare a written statement if you would rather not speak to the media directly;
- choose who in the media you speak with;
- choose the time and place for the interview;
- choose what to speak to them about;
- ask for your privacy to be protected by not using your name, having your face blurred or your voice altered;
- exclude any children from the interview;
- ask that no photos or only specific photos chosen by you be used;
- ask what direction the story will take and to see any articles before they are published;
- ask for any mistakes to be corrected; and
- ask someone else to act as a go between if you do not want to deal with the media directly;
If you do not want to speak to the media, you are entitled to:
- decline an interview;
- ask any uninvited reporters to leave your home or to stop approaching you;
- ask them not to contact you again; and
- refuse an interview with a specific reporter.
There may be particular interest from the media once the matter is before the courts. At this time the media reporting may include information you had not heard before. Sometimes this can be distressing. You might want to speak with your counsellor or support person about preparing yourself for this.
If you are not happy with the way you have been treated by the media, you can complain to the:
- media outlet;
- Australian Press Council; and
- Australian Broadcasting Authority.