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Network Criticized for Televising Teen-age Girl’s Suicide

July 8, 1993

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ A psychologist criticized the TV network that broadcast film of a 16-year- old girl leaping to her death, and police said Wednesday the girl had been suffering from a drug-induced depression.

On Monday, about 2.4 million people sat transfixed before their TV sets watching Daniele Lopes perched on an office building ledge in downtown Sao Paulo and then plunge more than 80 feet to her death.

The 11-minute tragedy was filmed from beginning to end by a crew of ″Aqui Agora″ (Portuguese for ″Here and Now″), a TV program that uses cinema verite techniques to film and narrate news in a spontaneous, unedited format. The program is produced by the major network SBT.

The girl killed herself at about 11 a.m., and the film was broadcast more than seven hours later.

Psychologist Jacob Pinheiro Goldberg scolded SBT for televising the suicide, saying such scenes desensitize viewers.

″Today they want to see a suicide, tomorrow they’ll clamor for a lynching,″ Goldberg told the Jornal do Brasil newspaper.

Police Inspector Jose Carlos Alves Viegas told The Associated Press that Ms. Lopes was a heavy user of marijuana and crack cocaine and that ″depression induced by the drugs led to her suicide.″ He said her parents had tried in vain to get her to go to a drug rehabilitation center.

Jornal do Brasil said she was despondent because her boyfriend ended their relationship.

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