Journalism & Its Voyeuristic Approach Towards The Blue Whale Suicide Challenge 

At first glance, this might seem to be straight out of a sick Japanese movie, but a brief inspection will tell you it’s closer home.

Below is a screenshot of one of India’s widely read publications, about the recent, controversial story doing rounds on the internet, “The Blue Whale Suicide Challenge”. It reads something like this:

Hindustan Times; Blue Whale Suicide Challenge Excerpt
Hindustan Times; Blue Whale Suicide Challenge Excerpt

What I’m yet to decipher from the whole article are a few points: 1. Horrifying for whom? We are talking of kids, who are potentially trying to kill themselves. Is it the horror that the journalist feels worthy of discussion here? Again, 2. Psychotic? 3. Macabre?

The world is in need of better, convincing conversations about matters pertaining to depression, mental illnesses, etc. Unlike this insensitive, almost voyeuristic, judgemental rhetoric passed off as “Journalism”. 

I doubt if the writer even paused to think a while, about the kind of impact their words can have on someone who is unwell, hurting, considering self-harm. Inaccurately labelling someone as psychotic, or an act of ‘macabre’, definitely pushes the neurodivergent community further into the realm of the other, alienates us and just makes for a lazy, awful piece of journalism. Honestly, pscyhobabble hurts. 

I wish people, especially those who have the power to change the world and the people who the world looks up to every morning in between the sheets of the black and white ink carrying news from around the world (like this author), would take some time off and attempt to educate themselves about the importance of using the correct language to address the subjects they’re not completely aware of. 

But then again, it’s not surprising to see this kind of journalism in a country which tries so hard to repress every kind of talk about mental illnesses.