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Media Coverage of Euthanasia Debates

The next speaker at ECREA 2010 is Leen van Brussel, who shifts our focus from the world stage to northern Belgium, and the debate about euthanasia and the right to die being played out in newspapers there. The relevant players in that debate are the ‘right to die’ and ‘palliative care’ movements, with their respective, opposing, points of view. This is a struggle for meaning, played out in good part through the mainstream media.

Key themes in the newspaper coverage of these debates are pro-choice discourses (allowing others to retain control of their own lives), dignity (control and autonomy over one’s own death), and dignity (awareness and sanity of one’s time of death). Additionally, articles celebrate the dying subject who exercises their right to die, or problematise the provision and quality of palliative care.