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Gonzalo Herranz, Honorary Professor of Bioethics, University of Navarra, Spain.

The danger of suggestion

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 10:58:37 +0000 Published in La Razón (Madrid)

Is it legitimate for a public television station to broadcast assisted suicide?

-It is not easy to put limits to the obsession of certain programmers for sensationalism. They take refuge in what they call freedom of information, which in this case, seems detached from responsibility.

- Can the report have a copycat effect among viewers?

-The report will try to convince the public that assisted suicide is very "humane" and very "aesthetic". A sector of the viewers will be easily suggestible. They will file the case on their report and will not get rid of that memory and will eventually claim assisted suicide as a right.

- Should the ethical codes of television be stricter?

-We are facing an advertising promotion of assisted suicide that the BBC offers free of charge to British euthanasia activists. I do not know the legal rules governing the channel, but in our country the financial aid to suicide is a crime that the Penal Code punishes more harshly than euthanasia.