The Daily Sport has been censured by the Press Complaints Commission for its guide to Britain’s ‘suicide hotspots’which the PCC ruled glamorised suicide and could encourage readers to take their own lives.
The Sport published a story on 30 May headlined ‘The top yourself 10’showing the ten most popular places for people to kill themselves, after British Transport Police revealed that 25 people had committed suicide on one stretch of railway in three years.
Dougie Paterson of Choose Life, an NHS programme to reduce suicide in Scotland, complained successfully to the PCC that the article gave excessive information about the methods used in suicides, which is banned under clause five of the Editor’s Code of Conduct.
The newspaper told the PCC it was ‘fully aware of the seriousness and sensitivity surrounding mental health issues’and considered that the article was a fair and balanced factual report in the public interest. The PCC upheld the complaint however and said that the Daily Sport had been irresponsible.
The commission said it had no problem with newspapers covering suicides in the context of an inquest or reporting on general patterns, but said the Sport had gone too far with this article.
‘The problem with this case was that it was an entirely gratuitous guide to where individuals have killed themselves, and explicitly pointed out to people that there were a number of options about how and where to attempt suicide,’the adjudication said.
‘This was clearly excessive in the context. The commission was also concerned that the light-hearted presentation of the piece – which referred, for instance, to one bridge as being a ‘well-known favourite for Britain’s top-yourself tourists’ – may have glamorised suicide in the eyes of some readers.
‘As the code is designed to minimise the chances of imitative suicides, this was a further breach of the code.”