Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://buratest.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/7773
Title: News media coverage of euthanasia: A content analysis of Dutch national newspapers
Authors: Rietjens, JAC
Raijmakers, NJH
Kouwenhoven, PSC
Seale, C
van Thiel, GJMW
Trappenburg, M
van Delden, JJM
van der Heide, A
Keywords: Euthanasia;Media;Content analysis
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: BMC Medical Ethics, 14(1), 11, 2013
Abstract: Background: The Netherlands is one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal under strict conditions. This study investigates whether Dutch newspaper articles use the term ‘euthanasia’ according to the legal definition and determines what arguments for and against euthanasia they contain. Methods: We did an electronic search of seven Dutch national newspapers between January 2009 and May 2010 and conducted a content analysis. Results: Of the 284 articles containing the term ‘euthanasia’, 24% referred to practices outside the scope of the law, mostly relating to the forgoing of life-prolonging treatments and assistance in suicide by others than physicians. Of the articles with euthanasia as the main topic, 36% described euthanasia in the context of a terminally ill patient, 24% for older persons, 16% for persons with dementia, and 9% for persons with a psychiatric disorder. The most frequent arguments for euthanasia included the importance of self-determination and the fact that euthanasia contributes to a good death. The most frequent arguments opposing euthanasia were that suffering should instead be alleviated by better care, that providing euthanasia can be disturbing, and that society should protect the vulnerable. Conclusions: Of the newspaper articles, 24% uses the term ‘euthanasia’ for practices that are outside the scope of the euthanasia law. Typically, the more unusual cases are discussed. This might lead to misunderstandings between citizens and physicians. Despite the Dutch legalisation of euthanasia, the debate about its acceptability and boundaries is ongoing and both sides of the debate are clearly represented.
Description: © 2013 Rietjens et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0),which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
URI: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6939/14/11
http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/7773
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6939-14-11
ISSN: 1472-6939
Appears in Collections:Sociology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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