MOSCOW, December 18 (Itar-Tass) —— The end-of-the-world hysteria in the mass media tells negatively on people’s mental health, prompting some to commit suicide, Boris Tsygankov, the chief psychiatrist of Moscow’s healthcare department, said on Tuesday.
“The press and the State Duma [lower parliament house] are right to raise the problem of negative information circulated in the media,” he noted. “When we switch on a television set and hear that the Doomsday is coming, nothing good might come of it. It makes a man think that the end of the world in inevitable. No wonder that such person takes no interest in life.”
In late November, State Duma members called on Russian journalists not to fan emotions about the end of the world. Mikhail Degtyaryov, the chairman of the State Duma committee for science and science-intensive technologies, said then that the Doomsday hysteria looked more like a commercial project. “Just take a look at how many swindlers are trying to make money on this affair, from pseudo-magicians to vendors of emergency food parcels and other essentials,” he said. “Besides, according to the latest statistics, in comparison with the yearend period of 2011 there has been a surge in the amount of consumer credits and the turnover of retail chains, which unmistakably points to soaring hysteria.”
Alena Arshinova, a deputy chairperson of the Duma education committee, reminded about an experiment staged in the United States in the 1930. It proved that the end-of-the-world hysteria had triggered a crime and suicide surge. “The radio production of Herbert Wells’ The War of the Worlds has an awful effect in 1938, when millions of listeners took the information about Martians invasion in all good faith,” she said. “People working in the mass media know it only too well that such information might cause panic, which, in turn, might provoke swindlers. We must remember it and stop toying around with people.”