Turkey’s top media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), has urged media outlets to be cautious when covering stories about suicides, amid increasing reports of people killing themselves with cyanide.
“Our attitude towards stories that might negatively effect the mental developments of our society, children and youth will be uncompromising,” RTÜK chief Ebubekir Şahin tweeted on Nov. 15.
Şahin’s remarks were made on the same day that a family of three was found dead with a suicide note in Istanbul. High levels of cyanide were determined in their blood – third such incident in 10 days.
In his tweet, Şahin said that reporters “shouldn’t forget what they can cause” when covering stories about suicides.
“We have previously made our warnings on this issue. We have to abandon the style of reporting that harms the society’s health,” he said, adding that suicides shouldn’t be portrayed as solutions.
“Don’t use expressions that praise or legitimize these acts. We are closely monitoring the reports in question,” Şahin also said.
Also on the same day, the Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry has announced that they formed a commission to examine the suicide cases.
“The way that these cases are shared with the public carry the situation to a more sensitive point,” the ministry said, adding that a detailed report will be shared at the end of the examinations.
Four siblings were found dead in their house in Istanbul after committing suicide with cyanide on Nov. 6.
Similarly, a family of four was found dead in the southern province of Antalya on Nov. 9. with cyanide as well.
Economic hardships were reportedly cited as the reasons of the suicides.