Ethical use of the media by psychiatrists: towards an antipodean formulation of the "Goldwater Rule"

Australas Psychiatry. 2016 Feb;24(1):26-9. doi: 10.1177/1039856215620030. Epub 2015 Dec 10.


Objectives: To review the ethical problems posed by the participation of psychiatrists in various forms of lay media and propose a method of resolving quandaries in this area.

Conclusions: We review the potential ethical problems that arise when psychiatrists make contributions to the lay media, particularly when commentary and opinion reflects the views of the individual rather than the profession. The issues raised by the North American injunction known as the "Goldwater Rule" are pertinent to Australasia, particularly when media statements made by psychiatrists may seem to diminish the profession through politicisation, polemic, or bringing the profession and the field into disrepute. We propose a series of reflective questions to assist psychiatrists in Australasia to deliberate on the potential ethical problems arising from their participation in media activities. We conclude that it is for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists to formulate an approach to situations where the media activities of Fellows raise such problems.

Keywords: Goldwater Rule; ethics; media.

MeSH terms

  • Australasia
  • Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Humans
  • Mass Media / ethics*
  • Psychiatry / ethics*
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States