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Russian Media Told Not to Link Suicides to Poor Living Conditions

Russia’s consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has called on the media not to link suicide with “worsening living conditions” or any social or economic events in reports.

“Such information can persuade people in a vulnerable mental state that committing suicide is normal and encouraged by society,” the organization's new recommendation said.

Additional guidelines said that suicide should not be presented as a romantic or heroic act, and that suicide methods should not be described in detail.

The problem of suicide has received widespread media coverage in Russia in recent months, with reports on so-called pro-suicide “death groups” on Russian social media attracting the attention of both the Kremlin and Rospotrebnadzor. In a further scandal last year, a number of cancer patients reportedly committed suicide after not receiving medication such as painkillers.

Rospotrebnadzor issued guidelines in April which asked media outlets to avoid the word “suicide” in headlines or on front pages.

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