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Suicide on TV condemned in Britain

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Great, get out the TV dinner and warm up the set. Who needs movies when you can see people die for real.

Seriously, although death is a part of life, I don't know if I want such imagery beamed into my home under the label of "Documentary." You can say that modern society has become somewhat blase to the plight of others, however, I think such imagery is rather disturbing.

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assisted suicide is illegal in Britain.

really? i wonder if japan will copy this one...

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spiderman, I don't know the names, but they have vid/dvd's of things like this and my wife is a doctor and has been on two "documentaries" where the brains of corps were being cut into (I know, I think its sick, but she doesn't!!!) and on the sex side, they have actual rapes....

I think on a world scale, TV viewers need to grow up. I remember listening to a few "conservatives" talking about things like this that would come and I laughed it off calling them fools. I think they were right.

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It's funny how people watch babies being born and even request to do so. But we don't want to see real death. We watch shoot outs in westerns and hood movies, but we don't want to see someone slowly slip into death.

I don't really care to watch it, I've had to, too much this past year.

I have been an advocate of assisted suicide for quite a while.

“If I go through with it, I die as I must at some point,” he says in the documentary,... “If I don’t go through with it, my choice is essentially to suffer, and to inflict suffering on my family, and then die.”

I think it takes a lot of courage to look at it in this light and to make the decision he made. My prayers to his family. < :-)

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Sex isn't at all common on British TV and there isn't enough forewarning of when it will be broadcast, or all the pay per view pornographers would go out of business. As for violence, there is far more stylised violence on Japanese tv, especially for kids. Japanese kids tv has to have the violence edited out for British tv. There has been this massive swing to 'reality tv' in the last 15 years. It's cheap and easy to make and people watch it in their droves. Regardless of the dubious quality of reality tv, the fact that something like this has been televised, making a difficult issue part open to national debate can only be a good thing.

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Great - pretty much one of the last taboos has been broken. Right - let's get executions live on Pay Per View from the States and Japan streaming through to the UK. How about a mass suicide event; the more you pay the people die.

A very sad state of affairs.

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Please read the story. This man specifically wants his assisted suicide shown, because he feels British laws are inhumane and most people don't understand death. He had to go to Zurich because assisted suicide is illegal in Britain (it wasn't always this way). It's a worthy news story, although I don't know if respecting his wishes and showing his death is something most people used to MSM are capable of handling.

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aday, I cna't believe you would compare birth and death..

I this is on dvd or pay per view, I don't think i would have as big of an issue with it but to let it go main stream where i don't get the chance to decide, I do have an issue with it.

I do support the idea of right to die and I would probably choose it myself, but I wouldn't want to televise it.

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It was his life, his death and his wish. I don't think the guy was wrong. Life and death are inseparable and if more of us took responsibility for our own lives and deaths, the world would be a better place. The taboo surrounding death prevents reasonable discussion and his action helps to bring that discussion into the open

Nobody HAD to watch the program.

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Dont make this out to be "British are against it" im American & think its a very stupid idea. there is some Good reality shows out there.

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I'm not at all against Euthenasia; if a person is suffering and inflicting suffering upon others as a result (of course, by this I mean indirectly -- I doubt the person is CHOOSING to make others suffer), and is going to die anyway, I don't think we have the right to tell them they cannot choose when, where, and how. Of course, that being said, they can't just jump in front of a JR train and inconvenience hundreds of others, etc.

However, I don't think it should be broadcast on TV or over the net, nor should it be legal to do so. It's not a 'if you don't want to watch, don't' matter; it's the fact that the public in general in this day and age is becoming pretty desensitized as it is. Just look at the examples in the past couple of months: a young man in Britain egged on -- or off -- to jump from the top of the building, only to have people rush to his battered body to take cell phone pictures. A young kid in the US is egged on (in many cases) by people online to kill himself.

This kind of thing isn't going to teach anyone about 'life and death' in the least, except that you can make money off it and/or a name for yourself after it's all said and done.

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The definition of 'reality show' has become as wide-spread in meaning as 'alternative music'. You can't compare someone killing themselves on TV with the success of American Idol, nor can you compare it with Survivor or shows of the like.

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The article about this topic is totally misleading, it wasn't a Reality TV show it was a documentary shown on TV created by a Canadian film maker. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/tv/story/2008/12/10/suicide-documentary.html The topic is touchy enough as it is, without a new organization and it's writers trying to create some sensationalism out of it.

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Those of you calling this a "reality show" need to get your heads checked.

If this sort of thing became a reality show, then I would be just as disgusted as anyone here.

But this was a documentary (no quotation marks, timorborder).

It was shown for a purpose: one meant to help society, not profit from it.

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Thought that there was really a really old and outdated DVD of this stuff called, "Faces of Death?" Someone's always attempting to satisfy an audience.

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I think whether it's 'sick' or not depends on how it was presented, not the material itself. What's really worrying is that so many people want euthanasia to be a right and the government keeps ignoring them. Not even a referendum.

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What's really worrying is that so many people want euthanasia to be a right and the government keeps ignoring them.

I don't know about ignoring them. I would say that the government doesn't want them to die, if for nothing else they'd be loosing potential tax revenue to fund their pork projects. The government likes to milk people, much like Capcom does with their StreetFighter series of video games.

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Weasel: "Thought that there was really a really old and outdated DVD of this stuff called, "Faces of Death?" Someone's always attempting to satisfy an audience."

Hahaha... I remember that! One huge difference of course being that with 'Faces of Death' (and the series it became) what you were watching was almost tantamount to snuff, whereas this man wished himself that his death be shown on TV/the internet.

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As a member of "Death With Dignity" I fully support one´s right to terminate one´s existence (it can hardly be called life) in a caring and humane manner. Broadcast on TV, well, I have my doubts about that one. When one has decided that one has experienced "life" as fully as possible, and one will only suffer unecessarily into the future, this humane option should be available with all reasonable checks and balances. Suffering is simply not part of any divine plan.

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It's a slippery slope from a government allowing assisted suicide to a government insisting on it as a way of reducing the burden of caring for the elderly.

What about pressure from avaricious relatives, eager to get their hands on the inheritance before it disappears in medical fees? What is presented as "choice" becomes compulsion and in such cases it is better to have no choice. Palliative care can be used to deal with pain and suffering towards the end of one's life. We should expect better than being put down like dogs in the 21st century.

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I've long felt that if they stopped hiding deaths and bodies behind blue tarpaulins and digital mosaics, and showed the reality, maybe there would be less violence and murder in this society, better driving, and more respect for life. Cinema and TV have done too much to sanitise death and violence, while computer games have fed a culture of "Bring back to life - re-boot!"

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Reality TV assisted suicide is tantamount to snuff.

This documentary was not.

Showing it on a relatively unwatched channel on SkyTV was only done to improve ratings for that channel.

And the debate in UK parliament is but a form of marketing to improve those ratings.

Thus, the UK powers-that-be are indirectly marketing the acceptance of assisted suicide by publicly debating it!!!!

You only need more coverage of this throughout most news channels worldwide to help market such acceptance.

Hey, if it works for teenaged use of drugs, it will work for the global snuff otaku.

A little known fact is that teenaged drug use increases when anti-drug education is introduced to the curriculum of a high school. Indeed, when such education is policy within a school district, that district has an increase in drug use among teenagers and young adults.

In contrast, in areas where there are no such program in place in school, illegal drug use is less prevalent.

What was found was that discussion of drug issues among teenagers acted like advertisement for the acceptance of any drug use that was once hidden and behind closed doors.

Once accepted, it was easier to accept drug abuse and the harm it causes.

Next thing you know, "everyone is doing it" and a drug "epidemic" among teenagers was noted.

Imagine how discussion about euthanasia is going to do for acceptance of assisted suicide.

All you need is a few doctors to admit to helping an ailing patient, and acceptance would be nearly guaranteed!

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Palliative care can be used to deal with pain and suffering towards the end of one's life.

Only in a society where there are the right medicines and treatment available, and trained people to administer them. (Japan is not one of those societies). But this is not about those people.

What of those who are young, with crippling diseases, paralysis, loss of mobility and body function, who decide that another 40-50-60 years of life is just not something to look forward to, who have very little quality of life. Should they be "drugged" for the remainder of their life, counting off the days, or should they be allowed to choose a dignified way out?

Safeguards such as multiple interviews with independent parties, repeated clinical assessments, a period to think it over; much as is done for patients about to go irreversible sexual re-assignment would go along way to eliminate family, inheritance and other pressures.

Society is very good at killing people who don't want to die, but almost totally unable to handle allowing people to die of their own free will.

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" has previously been shown on Canadian and Swiss TV and at numerous film festivals, where it provoked little controversy."

OK, fine. So what's so different about showing it in Britain? The hypocrisy there? The pretense at not wanting to see, but actually wanting to see? Inability to deal with the heavy Victorian legacy in this its last bastion? The vicarious thrill of being the fly on the wall, and then the resultant disgust, and the inability to think maturely about something we all need to consider seriously? Are we happy to be playing all day, death hidden behind the hospital walls? Leave the decisions to the doctor...

Yes, all the above posters' criticisms can be thrown validly at this airing, but maybe it can also function as a wake-up call. Patients need to be able to consider all available options in consultation with a doctor without the law pontificating. Maybe Britain needs to wake up and think clearly.

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Scrote: "It's a slippery slope from a government allowing assisted suicide to a government insisting on it as a way of reducing the burden of caring for the elderly."

It's not a slippery slope at all, it's an imagined slope. No one in their right mind would jump from granting a terminally ill patient's request to die to killing the elderly in order to pay less taxes.

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He should have come to Japan to do it. His family would have still got his life insurance payout.

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This is a very important topic, but as soon as religion-backed groups become involved, there can be no sensible discussion. The problem is that their morals and ethics are based on interpretations of dogma laid down millenia ago mixed up with ideas of supernatural retribution, rather than on the very real matter of suffering and the human condition.

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" has previously been shown on Canadian and Swiss TV and at numerous film festivals, where it provoked little controversy."

OK, fine. So what's so different about showing it in Britain?

Because it comes in the wake of the Daniel James case, a 23 year old paralysed rugby player who died in a Swiss assisted suicide in September and also the Debbie Purdy case, a 45 year old woman with multiple sclerosis who lost her High Court case to clarify the law on assisted suicide in October. The topic is now being debated in Parliament with an increasing number of MPs calling for a change in legislation. The impact of a TV show like this being shown on TV last night is massive. The repercussions for our society and the way in which doctors and family mambers care for the sick and elderly are equally huge.

My question is quite the reverse, "Why didn't it provoke more controversy in Canada and Switzerland?"

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wanderlust

good post!

Soochi

Probably because Cda & Switzerland have spent more time thinking on this topic so dont have to fly off the handle

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GW

Possibly you are right but "flying off the handle" is hardly a fair or accurate way to describe the debate currently taking place in the UK.

It is worth remembering that the Crown Prosecution Service hasn't brought charges against any of the many hundreds of UK citizens who made the trip with their loved-ones over to Switzerland despite them clearly being linked with a criminal act. I too hope the law will change eventually but safeguards have to be put in place to protect the vulnerable from coercion - or managers who want their hospital beds empty. Speak with any Health Professional working for the NHS and they will tell you the same thing. Smithinjapan's reply to Scrote couldn't be further from the truth..... "No one in their right mind would jump from granting a terminally ill patient's request to die to killing the elderly in order to pay less taxes." I work with the terminally ill and the elderly and trust me, they would and they do.

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The vicarious thrill of being the fly on the wall, and then the resultant disgust, and the inability to think maturely about something we all need to consider seriously? Are we happy to be playing all day, death hidden behind the hospital walls? Leave the decisions to the doctor...

nandakandamanda, you really need to get down off that incredibly high horse of yours.

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"Reality TV"? It was a documentary about euthanasia! "Assisted suicide" is a very hot topic in the UK. To label this programme reality TV is just ridiculous and sensationalist. "No holds barred British TV"? Really? There is no Mini-Skirt Police here, you know.

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Soochi "No one in their right mind would jump from granting a terminally ill patient's request to die to killing the elderly in order to pay less taxes." I work with the terminally ill and the elderly and trust me, they would and they do.

My father was euthanased by a London hospital in collusion with my step-mother, without his knowledge, and I am very, very bitter about it. Perhaps I have allowed this bitterness to leak into my post above. Apologies.

Just to make sure this post doesn't get moderated, I would like to agree with you asking why there was no furore in the other countries mentioned. Is that something wrong with them, then?

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The scene is difficult to watch, even for viewers inured to the subject of dying by a steady diet of violent Hollywood and television fare.

why difficult?, knowing this chaps story, his pain and destroyed ravaged body, it wouldnt be difficult, it would be sharing in his relief of seeing the cruelty finally end....free at last, free at last. Seeing a young child finally succumb to cancer - now that would difficult. I wish all the Charlie Churches of this world would keep their beliefs to themselves sometimes.

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nandakandamanda - I too apologise for leaping to an assumption. It sounds like you speak with bitter experience. Re-reading your comments you probably have every right to feel let down by the present system.

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