The businessman Ole Christian Bach seems to have shot himself in Stockholm. The press was lighteningly quick in establishing the death as fact, but the cause of death was not as eagerly cited.
The first Norwegian medium to release the news was TV2 Nettavisen. They quoted Bach's lawyer Arne Gunnar Aas, who went far in hinting that Bach had taken his own life. The other major online newspapers followed a few minutes after the first article was published, but without mentioning suicide.
Honourably enough, Dagbladet.no, VG Nett and Aftenposten.no waited before they published the cause of death as fact. Suicide is not a subject to be taken lightly. But the coverage of this tragic phenomenon is changing. The press is altering its self-regulatory statutes these days, with the intention of allowing a more open coverage of suicide.
Suppressing a problem is rarely, if ever, a solution. Instead of walking around suicide, we might now enter into the heart of the problem. That is, if such a thing exists. For the causes are as complex as there are individuals on the planet. Harassment, weight issues, drugs, alcohol, low self esteem - or stress. Ole Christian Bach had been running from the police for a long time, and seemed to have reached his limits. That he leaves four children was not enough to stop him.
The problem with this kind of speculation is that it's hard to do the victim 100 per cent justice. When former health minister Tore Tønne took his own life after intense media pressure, the press was heavily criticised for harassing Tønne. Investigation by the press itself (as usual) showed that the newspapers had done little do deserve criticism. Most of the questions against Tønne seemed to be legitimate.
Discussion isn't always the solution. But putting a lid on tragic issues is surely no constructive alternative, even if those left behind might find it hurtful at times. Death is too important a fate to be left unscrutinised.