Responsible reporting guidelines for media
News coverage of conflict zones can be distressing for anyone, but particularly those who have served or been affected by conflict.
Scenes, sounds and graphic descriptions can be triggering to anyone who has experienced being in a war zone. The sights and sounds can cause them to recall difficult events and relive traumatic experiences.
During the events in Afghanistan in 2021, we heard from many Veterans and family members who were feeling increasingly distressed as a result of the news coverage.
As we are now surrounded by news of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Help for Heroes is once again calling on the media to report sensitively when covering stories of conflict and signpost to support services for those who are struggling.
Media outlets and journalists should
Be mindful when interviewing veterans and family members
Let them know your line of questioning in advance
Find out if any areas are ‘off-limits’
Do not call into question the value of their service or sacrifice
Let them know when and where the interview will appear
Signpost to support services following all interviews
Include a warning before portraying graphic content that may be distressing to viewers.
Signpost to services that can support veterans, service personnel and families in need
“When I see it, I can smell it and taste it, and I am sure the veterans I work with still feel the heat and the tension. You feel like you are back there.” - Phil Hall, Help for Heroes Complex Case Manager