Two Australian DJs made a prank call to the UK which it is believed helped drive UK nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital to commit suicide.
What is clear is the Australian criminal offences committed by the two DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, and management at 2Day FM and their parent company CEO of Southern Cross Austereo.
Monday 3 December: The Duchess of Cambridge is admitted to the King Edward VII hospital in London suffering acute morning sickness.
Tuesday 4 December: Radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, from Sydney’s 2Day FM, call the hospital switchboard at around 5.30am GMT pretending to be the Queen and Prince of Wales. They speak to nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who is working on reception and puts the call through to a duty nurse.
Wednesday 5 December: News of the prank call makes headlines around the world. The hospital condemns it as “deplorable” and “journalistic trickery”. Greig and Christian offer “sincere apologies” and say they were surprised to get through due to their “terrible accents”.
Thursday 6 December: The duchess is discharged from hospital.
Friday 7 December: Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on reception when Australian DJs made prank call, dies in suspected suicide. (Click here to read more)
Rhys Holleran, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo, owner of 2Day FM called a press conference yesterday in relation to this tragedy. His performance was disgraceful and he avoided every question possible with well scripted responses. Below is a summarised video of the press conference where you can see for yourself his pathetic performance.
The Australian laws breached are well-known in the media industry and even in the general public given the ADFA sex tape scandal last year. Each state has their own laws as well and given the program, which is based in NSW, went nationally they are answerable in each state. In 2010 journalist Ben Fordham was found guilty of breaching the New South Wales Listening Devices Act. His producer, Andrew Byrne, was convicted of five similar offences. Media Watch did a show on it titled “The Right To Record” which also showed British laws on the matter. (Click here to watch) So Southern Cross Austereo would be well aware they have broken the law.
The federal law that covers this situation is section 474.17 of the 1995 Criminal Code:
474.17 Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person uses a carriage service; and
(b) the person does so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.
This is the same offence which I covered in a previous post in relation the Australian Defence Force sex tape scandal last year where charges have been laid. (Click here to read the post)
While no one could have foreseen suicide, it would have been obvious the humiliation and embarrassment that would have been caused to Jasintha Saldanha by playing the prank on her at her place of work. It was no ordinary patient at the hospital and the humiliation and embarrassment would have been ten fold. She probably would have also been the subject of ridicule at work and home and 2Day FM, the DJ’s and management could not care less.
While this post is off topic for this website I felt compelled to write it when I saw the interview with Rhys Holleran and his arrogance that he and his company are above the law. Unfortunately he quite possibly will be right. But the two DJs should be charged along with management.
Remember this is the same radio station that houses Kyle Sandilands. In 2009 “A controversial radio “shock jock” has been dumped as a judge on Australian Idol after a public backlash over a lie-detector stunt in which a teenage girl revealed she had been raped.” and “Sandilands, who presented the show with Jackie O’Neil, was accused of further insensitivity when he asked: “Right, and is that the only sexual experience you’ve had?” (Click here to read more)
2Day FM took The Kyle and Jackie O Show of air in 2009 for a period of time, the same as it was announced yesterday with Mel Greig and Michael Christian. The station is a real grubby station that plays in the gutter. They have form on the board and their apologies are just lip service.
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