UK & World News
Korean Reality Show Criticised Over Death
A television station in South Korea is facing criticism following the apparent suicide of a female contestant while filming a reality matchmaking show.
The 29-year-old, who was competing on "Jjak" (The Mate), was found dead on Wednesday at the guesthouse - dubbed "Lovetown" - where she and other contestants were being filmed by a TV crew and surveillance cameras.
The weekly show puts about 10 men and women in the same guesthouse, on the southern island of Jeju, for a week while they are filmed.
The participants, clad in matching uniforms, are put through various physical challenges in hopes of getting a date out of one of their fellow contestants, before making a final choice at the end of the week.
The woman's mother told the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper that in their last phone conversation her daughter had said she would not be able to live in South Korea if the show was aired.
Friends quoted by the newspaper said the contestant had also complained the producers were trying to depict her as an unpopular, "tragic girl".
The TV channel, SBS, cancelled the scheduled screening of the show on Wednesday and issued an apology to viewers and the contestant's family, but did not accept any direct responsibility for her death.
Police said they were investigating whether the show and its producers had played any role in the woman's apparent decision to take her own life, and were examining video footage recorded in the past week.
South Korea has the highest suicide rate among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with an average of 33.5 people per 100,000 taking their lives in 2010.
The figure equates to nearly 50 suicides a day.
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