Authority feels ‘Royal prank’ call breached industry code

April 22, 2015 1:00 pm

Sydney radio station 2Day FM treated a nurse at a London hospital in a
highly exploitative way when it put to air a “royal prank” call, the
broadcasting watchdog has found.
In its investigation report into
the 2012 incident, the Australian Communications and Media Authority
determined the station breached parts of the industry code and its
licence that prohibits identifiable persons being broadcast without
their consent.
Its hoax call to the London hospital where the
Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for severe morning sickness also
breached a clause preventing people on programs being treated in a
highly demeaning or exploitative manner.

Radio , left, and appear during an
interview on ’s Channel Nine over the infamous and ultimately
tragic royal prank phone call. Photo / AP

The authority noted the
potential repercussions on both the professional standing and personal
reputation of both the nurse who put through the call and another nurse
who gave details of the Duchess’ condition.

The first nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, took her own life following widespread exposure of the call.
“This is a case where the licensee has breached an important community safeguard,” the authority’s chairman Chris Chapman said.
“The
community rightly expects broadcasters will not record and broadcast
these sorts of private conversations when consent has not been given.”
But
2Day FM did not contravene other parts of the code which spell out
certain decency and privacy obligations, the authority found.
The authority will now determine what sanctions to impose on the station, including suspending or cancelling its licence.
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