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#954577 - Sun Dec 09 2012 07:01 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: flopsymopsy]
lesley153 Offline
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Need two Like buttons for Flopsy's post - one for an insider's take, and one for the summary. I think that's the first time I've seen the word ethics used anywhere.

English law used to say (so much has changed recently, I don't know if it still does) that you take people as you find them. Example: you rob a shop, and the shopkeeper has a heart attack and dies. You are held legally responsible for the death. "I didn't know he had a weak heart" is not a defence.
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#954580 - Sun Dec 09 2012 08:07 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: lesley153]
ren33 Offline
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Thank you. There are some very wise and eloquent posts in response to this.
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#954583 - Sun Dec 09 2012 08:44 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: ren33]
zorba_scank Offline
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That was a much needed post, Flopsy. I can't believe how insensitively some parts of the media are hounding Kate. She doesn't even seem like the type to deliberately court the publicity. Recently there was that mess regarding the breach of her privacy on vacation and now this.

The nurse in question and my family hail from the same part of the country, so there are a lot of common links through people who have studied nursing with her, worked with her in the UK etc. It may seem like an extreme reaction to a prank for some but then we may never understand how anxious/scared an immigrant living in a foreign country may have felt about having caused inconvenience to members of the Royal family. It obviously must have affected her badly enough if she took such a drastic step.
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#954596 - Sun Dec 09 2012 01:00 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: zorba_scank]
rossian Offline
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Loc: Merseyside UK 
Well said, Flopsy. Very eloquently expressed and puts across how, I suspect, many of us are feeling about the situation. There seems to be no morality or thought about what the consequences of their actions might be.
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#954602 - Sun Dec 09 2012 03:12 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: rossian]
sue943 Offline

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It has cost the radio station money though in lost advertising revenue.
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#954611 - Sun Dec 09 2012 04:04 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: sue943]
Tizzabelle Offline
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I don't condone, in the slightest, the prank call by that idiotic radio station which I never listen to so please don't take my comment to mean that I do condone it, the station, the DJs or anything else to do with this dreadful situation.

I do have to wonder what safeguards are put in place at the hospital to ensure only the correct people are given information when they call? I've worked on wards where we've had people who only wanted their condition spoken of to a select few family members or friends. We've had patients who are famous, victims of a crime, patients in families where there has been an estrangement, patients in adulterous relationships. We've been told why the patient wants their details kept quiet, who can be told, what they can be told, etc. It's up to the media liaison person of the hospital, or in one case, the colleagues of a journalist were happy to liaise with the rest of the media. I'm a bit bemused that there weren't strict instructions on who could be given information about the Duchess and how to check the validity of any callers. I remember one patient who was in a car accident and her family didn't want any details going to her boyfriend and his family. The patient's family were given her Medical Record Number and when they rang they'd say "It's John Smith, Jane Jones' uncle, and her number is 12346." So it flabbergasts me that there weren't protocols for the handling of media or other enquiries just in case some ratbag journalists from anywhere tried it on.
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#954614 - Sun Dec 09 2012 04:30 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: Tizzabelle]
ClaraSue Offline
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Come to think of it, when my aunt was in the hospital a few years back, she was issued a number as well and my mother would have to give that number before she was given any information, too. I'm surprised that someone as important as the Duchess wasn't given a number or code phrase that only family members would know.
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#954615 - Sun Dec 09 2012 04:44 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: ClaraSue]
mountaingoat Offline
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Prince Charles made a joke about the prank. Quote when talking to journalists "How do you know you are not talking to a radio show." Laughs all round. Most people are amazed how far they got with the prank because the fake voices and fake corgies barking in the background were so obviously silly. If the fact someone is embarrassed by the media is enough to cause people to commit suicide, celebrites would be dropping like flies. The irony of the British press getting on its high horse about the prank is just breathtaking. They have exposed celebrities and murder victims parents to pain through criminal means.

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#954656 - Sun Dec 09 2012 08:30 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: mountaingoat]
lesley153 Offline
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Originally Posted By: mountaingoat
If the fact someone is embarrassed by the media is enough to cause people to commit suicide, celebrites would be dropping like flies.

The nurse wasn't a celebrity. She came here to nurse, not to hear her voice all over the radio. Nobody said the job might include fear and public humiliation.

Originally Posted By: mountaingoat
They have exposed celebrities and murder victims parents to pain through criminal means.

Does this justify the hoax call?
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#954659 - Sun Dec 09 2012 09:06 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: lesley153]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
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From the News :
"In addition to the inherent humiliation caused by the prank, Saldanha was further humiliated by the DJs, who gloated that she fell for the "easiest prank ever made." They never expected their absurdist British accents to succeed. On the morning of the tragedy they were still gloating on Twitter."
But oh they are so sorry.


Edited by ren33 (Sun Dec 09 2012 10:17 PM)
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#954663 - Sun Dec 09 2012 10:23 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: gtho4]
gtho4 Offline

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Half way down this webpage is a audio-link to an interview with the CEO of the radio station 2DayFM. It was broadcast earlier today (Monday here in oz) on 3AW (an AM station) in Melbourne -- the prank call went to air without the consent of the UK hospital (they tried 5 times to obtain consent) : 3AW.com.au

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#954686 - Mon Dec 10 2012 01:23 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: gtho4]
mountaingoat Offline
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There are hundreds of thousands of prank calls by stations around the world every year. There are even more people who are involved in media stories that may embarass them. There are none that I have heard of who have committed suicide. Therefore it was a reasonable expectation by the DJ's that noone would be hurt. It was an extraordinary response and could not have been predicted. To be throwing blame around after the fact is just being armchair generals. The fact that noone else has reacted in such a way before comes to the assumption that the young nurse had other problems and this was the final straw. Anyway a bit of colonial bashing by the pommy media always helps sales.

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#954688 - Mon Dec 10 2012 02:50 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: mountaingoat]
Copago Offline
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They might not have forseen that someone would die over it but surely they must have known that the nurses involved would have had some kind of action taken against them from their employer. Suspension or possibly fired. I don't even really want to blame the DJs entirely .. the station lawyers gave it the okay! As soon as any private information was given out then that should have been the end of it.

And I find it a bit hard to believe they tried five times to speak to the hospital before airing the call. They knew the phone number afterall.

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#954695 - Mon Dec 10 2012 03:33 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: Copago]
gtho4 Offline

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The two radio DJs were interviewed on Channel 9 at 6:30 tonight (Sydney time):
    The radio presenters who made the British royal prank call have told of their
    devastation upon learning that the nurse they spoke to had taken her own life.
    7:00pm 10th December 2012

    2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian were in tears as they spoke to A Current Affair's Tracy Grimshaw, two days after Jacintha Saldanha was found dead.

    "It was the worst phone call I have ever had in my life," Greig said, speaking of the moment she learnt the tragic news.
    "There's not a minute that goes by that we don't think about her family and what they've gone through. The thought we played a part in that is gut-wrenching," she said. "We both found out about the same time. It was early Saturday morning when we were told," Christian said. "We're shattered. We're people too."

    The pair said they were thinking of Ms Saldanha's husband and two children. "I've thought about this a million times in my head that I've just wanted to reach out to them and give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they're okay, I really do," Greig said. "We just hope they get the love, support and care that they need."

    The pair called the hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness last week pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles. Ms Saldhana was the nurse who answered the call and transferred them to another staff member who gave away details of the duchess's condition. The pair said they never predicted their phone call would be put through and it was meant to be a light-hearted joke. Austereo has assured the radio network will fully cooperate with a Scotland Yard investigation.

    "It was completely innocent and we just expected to be cut off at every point," Christian said. "I expected us to be put through to a complaints area," Greig said. "We didn't think that it would have the tragic outcome [it did]. At every single point it was innocent on our behalf, it was something that was fun and light-hearted," Christian said. "The idea was never let's call up and get through to Kate or let's speak to a nurse – the joke was our accents are horrible and they don't sound like who they were intended to be," he said. Greig went on to say that prank calls had been "around for years" in the radio industry.

    "We've done many a prank call. It was routine for us, it wasn't anything different to us," she said. The presenters did not say whose decision it was to broadcast the recorded call, only that it was given the okay by people in another department. This was put through every filter that everything goes to before it goes to air. We just made the phone call and that was it on our behalf," Christian said.

    Greig added: "We don't get to make those decisions. Our role is just to record and get the audio and wait to be told if it's okay or not okay." Christian said the pair were still trying to make sense of the tragic turn of events and he felt "shattered, gutted and heartbroken". "We're still trying to work our way through it ... obviously Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened," he said. He also repeated his co-hosts comments that prank calls were commonplace in the industry, saying: "Prank calls are made on every radio station on every day around the world and they have been for a long time - no one could have imagined this to happen."

    The presenters have been in hiding and undergoing counselling since news of Jacintha Saldanha's death broke on Saturday. An Austereo spokeswoman has described the UK media's backlash against the radio hosts as a "witch hunt". "No one has looked at the hospital; it is quite easy to blame us. The hospital were very quick to get their statement out," Southern Cross Austereo spokeswoman Sandy Kaye was quoted as saying in Britain's Telegraph newspaper. "It is much sexier to attack an Australian radio network without having done your homework to find out how much responsibility we actually bear. "I don’t want to shift the blame. It [the prank call] is much sexier than the issue of depression or talking about what led someone to a suicide … The Australian industry seems to sit quite fairly behind us. It was only supposed to be a harmless prank."

    Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran said 2DayFM tried to contact the King Edward VII Hospital "on multiple occasions" to discuss the pre-recorded prank call before it went to air. In a video statement on Austereo's website Mr Holleran said Greig and Christian, who phoned the hospital pretending to be members of the royal family, were "distraught" over the nurse's death. "It's a tragic event and one that we could never have reasonably foreseen," Mr Holleran said. "Nevertheless, the company is deeply saddened and our staff and all of us, our hearts go out to the family." He said Austereo would fully cooperate with investigations. The presenters have been taken off air and advertisers have reportedly suspended their accounts with the broadcaster.

    Chairman of the hospital Lord Simon Glenarthur called the hoax "appalling" in a letter to Austereo and urged the company to ensure such calls never happened again. Yesterday Ms Saldanha's 14-year-old daughter Lisha wrote some touching words in honour of her mother on Facebook."I miss you. I loveee you," she wrote. The nurse's husband, Benedict Barboza, also expressed his grief on Facebook. "I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances," the 49-year-old hospital accountant said. "She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India."

    Greig and Christian may face questioning by police after a request from Scotland Yard. "I have to stress it hasn't been indicated to us that an offence has occurred," NSW deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas said. "They have not asked for anything yet. They simply touched base and let us know of their interest and they will get back to us if they want anything done."
There's a link to the TV interview at the top of this Channel 9 webpage: news.ninemsn.com.au

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#954696 - Mon Dec 10 2012 03:51 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: gtho4]
sue943 Offline

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They might have tried five time but one thing we are forgetting here, it was about 5.30am when the call took place so presumably they were trying to get through to the administration side of the hospital before the staff were there. Only medical staff are going to be working at that time. If they couldn't get through they ought to have waited until they could.

The DJs just are not taking into consideration that Jacinda wasn't English, that to her the accent just wouldn't register because she is from India, she cannot be expected to know if it was a dodgy accent. If the call had been to me then all manner of alarms would have gone off, not only the dodgy accent but why it was the Queen herself making the call and not a member of staff calling to say that HM wished to be put through, and of course the hour of the day that the call was made.
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#954706 - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:00 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: sue943]
dsimpy Offline
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Loc: Belfast Ireland
If one of the DJs gets so depressed about this that they take their own life, will we just say "serves them right"?

It was a terrible unforeseeable tragedy. If there's blame to be shared out (which I'm sure there is), then it needs to go not to those two individuals, but to the Australian radio station which sanctioned the broadcast AND the London hospital which apparently had no effective training or protocols in place for handling outside enquiries about patients - DESPITE the fact they clearly deal with high-profile patients all the time, and DESPITE the fact they had the world's media literally on their doorstep at the time. There were also obviously government protection personnel in attendance at the hospital while Kate Middleton was there. Where the hell were their procedures?

It's just TOO easy to launch a witch hunt against two employees who were doing what they're paid and expected to do (however badly they misjudged things on this occasion).

There are two issues which I think shouldn't be conflated. One is the breach of patient confidentiality, which was wrong on all levels. The other is the embarrassment caused to the nurses. However tragically that worked out, where do we stop if we argue that no-one can ever embarrass anyone else through a prank. That'd be April Fool's Day gone for one!
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#954716 - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:23 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: mountaingoat]
dsimpy Offline
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Originally Posted By: mountaingoat
There are hundreds of thousands of prank calls by stations around the world every year. There are even more people who are involved in media stories that may embarass them. There are none that I have heard of who have committed suicide.


Actually I can think of one. The British scientist and weapons expert David Kelly committed suicide in 2003 after being named as a BBC journalist's source for disputing British government claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He was publicly ridiculed and humiliated at a televised Select Committee enquiry and hounded in the media, before killing himself two days later. There were claims after his death that the government had deliberately leaked his identity to the media in a bid to discredit the story.
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#954741 - Mon Dec 10 2012 11:54 AM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: dsimpy]
lesley153 Offline
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Registered: Fri Sep 07 2007
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Does the fact that there are hundreds make it OK? And how many are made at half-past five in the morning?

Originally Posted By: dsimpy
The British scientist and weapons expert David Kelly committed suicide

Did he commit suicide? You sure about that?
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#954749 - Mon Dec 10 2012 12:56 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: lesley153]
lesley153 Offline
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Registered: Fri Sep 07 2007
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PS

"That'd be April Fool's Day gone for one!"

Would that be a bad thing?
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I appreciate people who are civil, whether they mean it or not. I think: Be civil. Do not cherish your opinion over my feelings. There's a vanity to candor that isn't really worth it. Be kind. ~ Richard Greenberg

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#954769 - Mon Dec 10 2012 03:24 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: lesley153]
Mariamir Offline
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Originally Posted By: lesley153
Originally Posted By: dsimpy
The British scientist and weapons expert David Kelly committed suicide

Did he commit suicide? You sure about that?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Kelly_(weapons_expert)#Death
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#954803 - Mon Dec 10 2012 04:49 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: Mariamir]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
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Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
I've heard, but not confirmed for myself, that it's illegal to tape anyone in Australia and use it on air without their permission. If this call had been to an Aussie hospital and the hospital or the people involved refused their permission to air the call, it would have been an non-issue and a waste of time. Apparently, the laws on this issue as far as international calls are blurry if they exist at all. I would have thought the legal dept of the radio station would have vetoed the call purely on that basis.

I'm sure the hospital's management are furiously writing protocols for this sort of thing as we speak and staff are being informed of the new rules. This is usually what happens. There are probably new rules and procedures in place already to deal with this sort thing. I'm sure legal departments of radio stations everywhere are writing protocols for this sort of thing too.

The DJs must be feeling horrid. I'm sure they never meant for anything as dreadful as this to have happened. They played a prank without any real malice that they never thought would succeed and now they'll have the death of someone on their conscience forever. Breaking patient confidentiality is such a no-no but they probably never thought they'd get through. It's a nasty situation no matter which way you look at it frown
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#954826 - Mon Dec 10 2012 05:54 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: Tizzabelle]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Actually I think the people most at fault are the managers/producers/lawyers - whoever approved that recording for broadcast. There is a loophole in the Australian Code of Practice which forbids broadcasting an interview without the permission of the interviewees but that prohibition specifically covers Interview and Talkback programmes (Section 6, ACMA Guidelines). The tape of the nurses was for an entertainment show and so technically, I'm sure a lawyer argued, the Code didn't cover them. The fact that they claim to have sought permission five times seems to indicate they thought they might have a problem with that argument but I suspect the nitpicking happened after they realised it wasn't going to be straightforward. I've been in management meetings myself where someone or other tried to argue the hind legs off a donkey so he could drive a coach and horses through rules he had drafted himself but I think here that the men in suits argued the technicalities and decided to ignore the spirit of the Code.

I find the argument that everyone does prank calls to be specious. Not everyone does it, and even if they did that doesn't make it de facto a good idea or justifiable. Someone, I think one of the DJs, said that they were sure there had been a hundred other such calls but I suspect there hadn't been any - bad though the British media may be, obtaining medical data isn't common practice and the one recent example is tied into all the phone-tapping undertaken by Murdoch's papers, which is such a hot potato here at present I doubt an editor would have touched it with a bargepole.

Furthermore it seems that obtaining medical records may be an offence in the UK under the Data Protection Act which states that:

"A person must not knowingly or recklessly, without the consent of the data controller (the Hospital in this case)

(a) obtain or disclose personal data or the information contained in personal data, or

(b) procure the disclosure to another person of the information contained in personal data."

Note that offences under the Act are criminal offences, not civil. Back when I was a press officer my employer indemnified me against any damages that might be incurred as a result of a civil action arising from my proper handling of my duties - but they could not indemnify me against the consequences of any criminal action because no one else can do your time for you. And that was why, when it came to publications or broadcast material, my decision was final and no one up the managerial chain had the right to overrule me. If I was going to do the time I wanted to be sure I was the one who deserved it.

The Hospital has established a memorial fund, the proceeds from which will be used to help Nurse Saldanha's family. And the Duchess is unwell again. I really do hope that someone somewhere in every editor's office gets the message that digging away at her is unnecessary, uncalled for, and potentially dangerous for her and the baby. For heaven's sake, leave the poor girl alone.
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#954827 - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:03 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: flopsymopsy]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
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Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Originally Posted By: flopsymopsy
The Hospital has established a memorial fund, the proceeds from which will be used to help Nurse Saldanha's family. And the Duchess is unwell again. I really do hope that someone somewhere in every editor's office gets the message that digging away at her is unnecessary, uncalled for, and potentially dangerous for her and the baby. For heaven's sake, leave the poor girl alone.

Amen to that. Sadly, as long as the public everywhere keep buying the papers and mags and listening or watching news broadcasts about the Duchess, it won't stop. frown
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#954828 - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:06 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: flopsymopsy]
ren33 Offline
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Quote:
they probably never thought they'd get through. It's a nasty situation no matter which way you look at it

So when they DID get through why did they continue with the interview?
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#954832 - Mon Dec 10 2012 07:11 PM Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy [Re: ren33]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2146
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Originally Posted By: ren33
So when they DID get through why did they continue with the interview?

Because it was an opportunity too good to miss. They thought they'd go down in radio history, give their programme world wide publicity, boost their careers etc. Because they're inexperienced, ambitious, stupid, naive, insensitive and untrained.

I just saw a panel discussion about this with some experienced radio journos. The three of them were disappointed with the training these DJs had. All radio folk should have training in what is legal/appropriate and what isn't. These training sessions might not be taken seriously by everyone, but it's up to the DJ or the journalist to take the codes seriously. It would seem the management of the station hasn't made clear what the responsibilities of the DJs were, nor explained the relevant laws. It would seem they didn't know themselves! The three radio hosts agreed that what they did was wrong, that the putting to air of the conversation breached ACMA guidelines, and that management of the station is answerable. They didn't say the DJs who made the call were blame free, but a large portion of the blame lay with the people who allowed the call to go on air, and who didn't train their staff adequately. The ACMA guidelines specifically mention this sort of call being against the rules unless the people involved agree to its airing so the station can't say the area is unambiguous. The DJs abdicated their own responsibility by saying they recorded it and it was up to the powers that be to decide if it aired. Wrong... they are responsible for knowing what's right and wrong also.

What's to happen though? The radio station will probably get a slap on the wrist as they have done before. *sigh* It's like being beaten with a steamed lettuce leaf. Everyone will bow and scrape to the governors and then it's pretty much business as usual. (I'm too young to be this cynical! wink )

Edited to change 'young' to 'inexperienced'. I gather they are in their late 20s. That's old enough to know better, and by that age I had a very responsible job as many, many other people have done.


Edited by Tizzabelle (Mon Dec 10 2012 07:47 PM)
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