Bedok Reservoir deaths: media should cease such reports
A friend said to me the other day in a tone heavy with sadness, “You know another case at Bedok Reservoir?” Thanks to the media, everyone in Singapore knows what Bedok Reservoir is now associated with.
The media in Singapore seem to have a fetish for such stories with an eye to their sales figures no doubt. Their reports are now more restrained than in the 70s when such cases provoked runaway sensationalism in the media then. And then as now it led to copycat incidents.
How reports of the deaths in the reservoir is of public interest I fail to comprehend. Reports of dengue clusters, loan-sharking activities, street-walkers for instance we can understand under the banner of “public interest”. Bizarrely, some people seem to harbor a morbid interest in cases of unnatural deaths.
That reports of deaths in Bedok Reservoir have led to copycat tragedies is crystal clear, and the media should bear part of the blame. It should exercise greater responsibility in refraining from publicising such cases for really it serves no purpose at all except to encourage those on the brink of taking their lives to take that final fatal step.
If you need further evidence, reports of people falling onto MRT tracks and killed by a train prompted more of such copycat actions. Saddened by this, I wrote to the authorities to express my concern but unfortunately they saw no merit in my complaint.
The government should now say enough is enough. Those who have an academic interest in such unnatural deaths can always get the facts and figures from the relevant government department anyway.
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