Samaritans' media warning over Doherty self-harm shots

By Caitlin Pike

The Samaritans charity has called on the media to be aware of the
impact it can have after stills of rock star Pete Doherty cutting
himself with broken glass were published in the News of the World.

The stills were leaked from a BBC, documentary, Who the F**k is Pete
Doherty?, to be shown on Sunday, 28 August. After the pictures were
published in the NoW, the BBC was approached by the Samaritans and has
agreed not to show Doherty self-harming with a broken bottle.

The
Samaritans are calling for journalists and producers to use its free
guidelines and media consultancy service – offering advice on
responsible ways to cover suicide and self-harm. The charity contacted
the BBC after it saw the pictures, taken from the documentary, of the
musician slashing his chest with glass in the press.

A Samaritans
spokeswoman said: “There’s a lot of evidence which shows that broadcast
portrayals of self-harm can cause imitative behaviour. In particular,
teenagers can be influenced by programmes, which feature celebrities or
people they can relate to.

“Young people who are going through a
difficult time could see the footage and perceive self-harm as an
appropriate way to cope with problems, particularly if the person shown
selfharming is someone they respect or is a role model.”

The BBC
and the Samaritans have now resolved the issue and the footage of
Doherty self-harming will not beincluded in the programme.

A BBC
spokeswoman said: “Who The F**k Is Pete Doherty? is an authorised
documentary by award-winning film maker Roger Pomphrey which aims to
get behind the tabloid headlines to present an honest portrait of a
troubled musician’s life.

“It’s an uncompromising film which
reveals what makes him tick as a performer and a person, and sees how
serious drug abuse affects his personal and professional life. Although
the film is still being edited, after careful consideration, the BBC
has taken the decision to remove the moment where Pete cuts himself.
The content of the programme will be clearly signalled to viewers in a
presentation announcement prior to transmission and a helpline number
will be provided at the end.”

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