Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Indian celebrity copycats

The influence of the celebrity copycat effect is worldwide.

During a World Suicide Prevention Day 2005 news conference, September 12, India reported that it's rate of suicide is extremely high, with Indians topping the list of the 2,555 suicide victims annually nationwide, followed by the Chinese and Malays. The report said that Indians died by suicide at a rate of 21.1 suicides per 100,000 Indians, compared to 8.6 per 100,000 Chinese and 2.6 per 100,000 Malays, among their country's population.

In a New Strait Times article, "Indians top suicide list," Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Shafie Ooyub.
urged "the media to play down stories on celebrity suicides which sometimes led to a copycat effect on some. He said some tended to think that the celebrity’s act was 'cool' and could be emulated. Dr Shafie was referring to the suicides of Hong Kong superstar Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing, who leapt off a 24th floor balcony, and that of South Korean actress Lee Eun-ju, who hanged herself earlier this year."

Shafie told the newspaper: "We urge the media to tone down on such reporting as there are people committing suicides because their favorite celebrity did so."

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