Australian prank call ends in tragedy

Posted by: sue943

Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 09:37 AM

The nurse who took the prank call from the Australian DJs the other day has committed suicide as a result. I trust theyy don't think that it is so funny now.

For those who do not know what I am talking about, a couple of radio DJs made a spoof call to the hospital which Kate was in and pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles. The nurse gave them an update on Kate's condition so unwittingly divulged confidential information to the media. She is now dead.
Posted by: ClaraSue

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 10:05 AM

Oh dear, how awful! I absolutely cannot stand prank calls and practical jokes. There is always someone who gets hurt. I refuse to be part of practical jokes when people try to enlist my help. No matter how innocent or funny it may seem, and even if the person getting pranked laughs, there's got to be some hurt feelings there somewhere. I feel so sorry for that nurse and her family. Maybe something like this will stop radio DJs to stop this nonsense. You hear them do this sort of stuff all the time. Not funny!
Posted by: Jennings

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 10:27 AM

In hindsight, I expect that the BBC and all the media that broadcast the part of the call, in which the nurses voice could be clearly heard (and therefore her identity disclosed to those in the know), deeply regret doing so. I hope so.
Posted by: sisterseagull

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 10:37 AM

Sorry? I doubt it. Apparently one of them has been on air today bragging about his involvement... What goes around, comes around mate!
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 10:43 AM

What is more disgusting is the the radio station's Facebook page still has the clip online, there are lots of angry comments. They have taken down their website and stopped Twitter accounts but left Facebook there.

They make reference as to how the dreadful accents didn't stop the call getting through but given the name of the nurse who died, it is possible that she might not have English as a first language so have a problem with recognising that the accents and indeed voices were unlikely to be that of the Queen.
Posted by: dsimpy

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 10:59 AM

It's a desperately sad outcome. It was also a stupid and inappropriate prank for those radio DJs to have played (not, in my view, for the 'royalty' aspect, but simply because a patient's right to confidentiality was thoughtlessly breached).

However no-one could have anticipated this outcome, and I'd be pretty sure the DJs are/will be wrecked and saddened by this. I think Jennings' point is a good one - perhaps more damage was caused to the nurses involved by the British media's transmission of the phone call than by the actual call itself?
Posted by: Copago

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 01:31 PM

Nothing will happen. The radio station will tell these two to pull their heads in for a bit and life will go on. If they continue to let Kyle Sandilands broadcast then this is just a little blip on their radar.
Posted by: JaneMarple

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 01:58 PM

It is a shocking outcome to a practical joke. I really hope the two DJs are thoroughly reprimanded and my thoughts are with the Nurse's family, and her children.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Fri Dec 07 2012 02:55 PM

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are still getting work - and audiences. The BBC won't really give a hoot about the people who were hurt. All they will care about is viewing and listening figures.
Posted by: Chavs

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 05:15 AM

That's seems overly harsh on the BBC.

In the past, the BBC has usually been the one that shows the most restraint when it comes to this sort of situation, holding back from naming suspects, for example, when other stations such as Sky have been content to report a rumour. Maybe I've missed something: Did the BBC do something particularly bad this time? Something different to other media outlets? Were they the only ones playing a clip of the call?



Dsimpy, well said, you've voiced my thoughts too.
Quote:
It's a desperately sad outcome. It was also a stupid and inappropriate prank for those radio DJs to have played (not, in my view, for the 'royalty' aspect, but simply because a patient's right to confidentiality was thoughtlessly breached).
Posted by: supersal1

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 08:50 AM

The nurse who died was not the one who divulged the information, she merely took the call and passed it through to one of the nurses looking after Kate.

The radio station aren't really in a position to reprimand the DJs - after all, if they've done this sort of thing in the past then the station has condoned it.

I trust the DJs involved are wrecked by this. I've never been able to see what's so funny about people in the public eye playing pranks on members of the public who are just trying to do their job.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 09:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Chavs
That's seems overly harsh on the BBC.

In the past, the BBC has usually been the one that shows the most restraint when it comes to this sort of situation, holding back from naming suspects, for example,


I didn't mean about naming people, or referring to rumours, I just meant about taking action after something nasty has been said in a programme. Julian Clary disappeared for years after an arguably ill-judged remark about Norman Lamont, on ITV in 1993. If he had made the same remark now, I don't think many people would have blinked. What Ross and Brand and these two DJs did was much worse, and infinitely more damaging, than the single vulgar word Clary used.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: supersal1
I trust the DJs involved are wrecked by this.

Sounds fair! I've never liked pranks either.
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 11:46 AM

What gets me rather is that the radio station's lawyer checked it out before it was put on air, perhaps he or she ought to be castigated too.
Posted by: Bruyere

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 01:48 PM

I heard the prank call and couldn't believe it but then thought, I've been in positions where I was on the phone, using three languages all day long, and placing calls through and there were various dignitaries calling from time to time, and what the heck did I know about that sort of thing? We had no direct lines and people would call and harass you and treat you like dirt on the floor. I tried to remain discreet and not give out information but people are clever. I remember revealing the fact that one person wasn't in the office and was called on that, or people would try and get information out of me. When the chips fall, they'll blame the person there on the lower end of the totem pole.

When I heard her sweet voice saying that Kate had slept well enough or something...and how she was trying to do her job and if you've been given the line and told it's the Queen, you might not have the courage to ask any more questions about her identity...well, anyone who says the contrary has never worked phone lines like that or been in that position.

The only thing that will happen is a return of karma for the people doing these pranks. I know they probably didn't mean it to turn out like this, but in the social media age, this is just terrible.

May the young woman rest in peace...she did her job very well I'm sure.
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 03:02 PM

That wasn't her giving details Heather. As it was very early in the morning there was no one at reception and when the call came through this person answered it then put the call through to another nurse who gave out the information. She didn't give out information herself.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 04:44 PM

From the ever-reliable Daily Mail:

"Australian radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian have been taken off air following growing global outrage at their ‘sick’ prank call to the Duchess of Cambridge’s hospital."

http://tinyurl.com/nurse-latest
Posted by: TabbyTom

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 06:08 PM

Lesley153's mention of the similar nine-day-wonder scandal involving Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand in the UK is relevant here. So is the current British brouhaha about “phone hacking” by Rupert Murdoch's journalists.

These things only happen because there is an audience for them. If viewers didn't want to watch these so-called “pranks”, then no TV station would actively encourage presenters to stage them. If millions of Britons did not rush to their newsagents in the early morning to buy the Sun and the News of the World, then Murdoch's (and Prime Minister Cameron's) friends would not be so eager to give them what they clamour to read.

Until Anglo-Saxon consumers raise their own moral standards, we cannot expect businessmen to refrain from profiting from our appetites. Believe me, it is really quite easy to live without Murdoch's so-called “news” media, and to get through a day without even switching on your TV set.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 07:47 PM

Originally Posted By: TabbyTom
...it is really quite easy to live without Murdoch's so-called “news” media, and to get through a day without even switching on your TV set.
It's nice to know I'm not alone. smile
Posted by: mountaingoat

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sat Dec 08 2012 10:00 PM

According to the logic of the people blaming the pranksters, if one of the DJ's commits suicide, those who attacked them are responsible. Imagine the egg shells we would all walk on if we fear an action or statement may cause a fragile person to commit suicide.
Posted by: ren33

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 03:32 AM

I don't think that is the point at all. They did the wrong thing, they did the hoaxing and they are entirely to blame whatever the outcome. As has been pointed out , there has been enough invasion of privacy by the media, and people like that should be punished, whether the victim of their wickedness committed suicide or not.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 05:31 AM

Agree with Ren's take on this. Does anyone think that calling the nurse "fragile" is an attempt to put the blame on her for what happened, and to absolve the DJs of any culpability?
Posted by: dsimpy

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 05:36 AM

I agree with Mountaingoat on this. I think the hoax call was wrong, was tasteless, was regrettably all too typical of what passes for broadcasting these days, and the outcome was dreadful and truly sad.

However I think the predictable witch hunt that's developing around these DJs is wrong. They are not responsible for a tragedy that couldn't have been foreseen by them. They're apparently devastated by what happened (and I can believe that).

Their prank was checked by the radio station's lawyers and obviously cleared by their producer. The DJs' 'crime' is bad taste and very poor judgement - nothing more. There's no need to find villains in this episode ... or two more victims.

Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 06:31 AM

It is understood Jacintha left a note explaining why she took her own life. A source said: “It leaves no doubt that she wanted to kill herself.”

Once the inquest has taken place presumably this will be made public and it will be seen whether it was the prank call which was the cause.

I wonder if the radio station will pay the funeral costs or whether civil action will be taken against them for causing her such distress resulting in her death.
Posted by: flopsymopsy

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 06:50 AM

I don't think they could have foreseen a suicide BUT ... what they could have foreseen was that they would expose whoever they spoke to possible professional consequences, and possibly cost them their careers. In this case we know that the hospital told the staff involved that wouldn't happen but that is down to the hospital getting it right, not the jokers. And they could have foreseen that whoever they spoke to would have been subjected to incredible stress.

They knew, they absolutely knew, that in these particular circumstances broadcasting their prank call would be covered worldwide. They knew that. That's what they wanted, to be famous for a prank involving the Duchess of Cambridge, for extracting confidential information, for finding things out that other people didn't because those other people obeyed the rules. Knowing what sort of coverage they might get if their prank succeeded all they thought about was the fame they would get and what it would do for them. And knowing that, they also knew that the world's media would turn on the source of the information like a pack of wolves. Normal people are not generally capable of dealing with that.

I spent many years as a press officer and I dealt with the media every day. And no matter how innocuous the story or what good news it was supposed to be, I woke up most mornings with feelings of dread about what they might have said I said or how they might have edited my comments or if something had been twisted... and sometimes I did fall victim to that and was saved only because it had also happened to my bosses and they knew how it went. But every so often I had to deal with a media frenzy about a story that wasn't good news - I've been on front pages, on the national tv news, on radio, and I've had reporters and camera crews and tape recorders camped outside my office, with others phoning constantly and demanding information to feed the hungry columns. And that was only the British press and was before 24/7 newsfeeds, websites, Twitter, and all the rest of it. I coped with it because I'm an adrenalin junkie, because I was actually quite good at it, and because I had training in what to say, how to say it, what might happen, etc. And because I got paid to do it. But whoever answered that prank call would not have been trained in those techniques and the pressure must have been enormous. I think many professional PR people would have been overwhelmed by that let alone someone not used to it so while I was shocked by the outcome, I wasn't surprised at it - because these situations always were a disaster waiting to happen.

I found it interesting that the radio station had the taped checked by a lawyer before broadcast so they were clearly concerned they might be liable for something. However, what they didn't do was refer it to an Ethics panel. They don't seem at any point up the ladder, from the DJs to the station bosses to have considered that the whole thing was so unethical that it should never have been done in the first place. Who rings a hospital to get information about a non-relative so that it can be broadcast? Everyone knows that information is confidential. And who tries to get information about a young woman pregnant with her first child who is seriously ill with a condition that can cause miscarriage? Who gets information like that and broadcasts it to the world with the obvious potential of causing even more stress to a woman already in danger of losing her baby? Who does that? It doesn't matter who she is, who does that? They didn't give a toss about what might happen to the Duchess and her baby, and they certainly didn't give a toss about what might happen to anyone they ploughed through on their way to their scoop.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 07:01 AM

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.
Posted by: ren33

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 08:07 AM

Thank you. There are some very wise and eloquent posts in response to this.
Posted by: zorba_scank

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 08:44 AM

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.
Posted by: rossian

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 01:00 PM

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.
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 03:12 PM

It has cost the radio station money though in lost advertising revenue.
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 04:04 PM

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.
Posted by: ClaraSue

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 04:30 PM

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.
Posted by: mountaingoat

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 04:44 PM

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.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 08:30 PM

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?
Posted by: ren33

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 09:06 PM

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.
Posted by: gtho4

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Sun Dec 09 2012 10:23 PM

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
Posted by: mountaingoat

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 01:23 AM

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.
Posted by: Copago

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 02:50 AM

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.
Posted by: gtho4

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 03:33 AM

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
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 03:51 AM

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.
Posted by: dsimpy

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:00 AM

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!
Posted by: dsimpy

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:23 AM

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.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 11:54 AM

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?
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 12:56 PM

PS

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

Would that be a bad thing?
Posted by: Mariamir

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 03:24 PM

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
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 04:49 PM

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
Posted by: flopsymopsy

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 05:54 PM

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.
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:03 PM

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
Posted by: ren33

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 06:06 PM

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?
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Mon Dec 10 2012 07:11 PM

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.
Posted by: dsimpy

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Dec 11 2012 09:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Tizzabelle
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!


I watched the interview with the DJs, and I got the impression they weren't being completely frank. Their answers to questions about the process in their radio station for clearing or rejecting material were evasive (I thought) and unconvincing. I think it's almost incredible that they didn't know! They also totally failed to answer some of the other (only mildly probing) questions put to them. I got the impression they'd been (badly) coached about what they should and shouldn't say. That's a pity because it slightly undermined the sincerity of their regret about what had happened.
Posted by: Emma058

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Dec 11 2012 10:29 AM

Both of your comments on the issue are truly, well stated. I am totally appalled how "ethics" are thrown out the window, in the name of ratings.
Likewise, I think it is time to allow the Duchess of Cambridge the dignity and privacy she deserves during her pregnancy.
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Dec 11 2012 12:28 PM

I can't call it good news but at least the radio station has some sense of responsibility. They're donating all the income from any advertising during the rest of the year to ''an appropriate memorial fund'' that will ''directly benefit the family of Jacintha Saldanha''.

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-a...1211-2b7wy.html
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Dec 11 2012 12:57 PM

Except didn't many of their advertisers pull out from advertising on the station?
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Dec 11 2012 01:18 PM

I'm not totally sure what percentage withdrew their advertising but some major ones did. The ads start back today. They still expect to make at least half a million dollars though and have promised a ''minimum contribution of $500,000 will be made''. If it doesn't happen then there will be outrage here as well as everywhere else. I'm sure they've gone through their accounts and worked out what they can afford to give without making any rash promises. At least I hope so!

Edited to add that this particular station has seen enough controversy. They were only getting over last year's debacle when this happened, and staff morale is reported to be low. I can't see them not paying up. They need to in order to restore some dignity and self respect.
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Dec 11 2012 03:09 PM

The husband is very angry, apparently he knew nothing about the hoax until after her death.
Posted by: lesley153

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Dec 11 2012 05:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Mariamir

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Kelly_(weapons_expert)#Death

Thank you. Please allow me to return the favour.
wikipedia/David_Kelly/Doubts about the suicide verdict

I believe that Kate's pregnancy was announced early, in the hope that it would stop the press hounding her to know why she was in hospital. I wonder if it made things worse. She may now qualify as public property, but not everything she does needs to be.
Posted by: Jazmee27

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Feb 12 2013 01:05 AM

First, to begin with the prank. I personally don’t care how you justify it—the whole thing was in poor taste. I’ve learned from my mother, who works in health care, a lot more about confidentiality and HIPPA laws than I did from my studies in college (on Social Work and Human Services, so everything overlapped). Ethics violations are very serious indeed, and it’s amazing to me how people just don’t think. True, pranks have been around for years—but there are certain pranks that should never even be entertained. Those that involve calling hospitals or similar facilities are on the top of the list. Such behavior was simply inexcusable.

To be fair, the staff or workers at the hospital were obviously uninformed, or underinformed… and that sort of thing is also inexcusable.

No one thing led to this catastrophe. Every situation is a combination of smaller situations, or events, or however you want to put it. Perhaps, instead of pinning the blame on just a few individuals, it should be shared equally – and, if not, there shouldn’t be any finger pointing at all.

My heart is with all those effected by the tragedy, and I withhold judgment—or, at least, try. Whatever opinions I have are just that, opinions—and, you could even say, value judgments—but the fact is I wasn’t there. And not being a part of the situation makes it imperative that I not come down on anyone. Even so, as I said, I make value judgments, for the situation screams “ethics violation” and “poor taste.”


One more note: all the legal nonsense is just… unbelievable. These people should be *ashamed of themselves!

“All radio folk should have training in what is legal/appropriate and what isn't.”
Exactly.
Posted by: sue943

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Feb 12 2013 03:53 AM

Jazmee27 these nurses thought they were talking to the queen, they would have been flustered, rather like nurses in a similar situation in the US if they thought that they were unexpectedly talking to the President of the United States about one of his close relatives. Do you seriously think that in this situation a lowly nurse would say "Sorry Mr President but I cannot tell you because it is confidential" instead of saying that the patient had a good night and was now sleeping. I rather think not.
Posted by: ren33

Re: Australian prank call ends in tragedy - Tue Feb 12 2013 05:00 AM

Aside from which, isn't this subject now in the past?
Haven't those involved put it behind them, apologised and subject closed. Why should it be necessary to revive this thread which is over?