December 10, 2012

Australian Radio Network Apologizes For Prank After Nurse’s Suicide



A phone prank that may have contributed to the tragic suicide of a London nurse has prompted an Australian radio network to suspend the two DJs responsible for the hoax. A statement from Southern Cross Austereo released Monday confirmed that Mel Greig and Michael Christian of the Hot 30 show on 2Day FM “will not return to the airwaves until further notice.” Hot 30 was also canceled.

Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at London’s King Edward VII's Hospital, was found dead Friday of an apparent suicide. The 46-year-old’s death came just days after Greig and Christian impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to get information about the condition of Prince William’s pregnant wife Kate Middleton, who was being treated for acute morning sickness. Saldanha put the call through to the ward, and another nurse there updated the DJs on Middleton’s condition. Greig, 30, and Christian, 25, aired the call on their show.

"First and foremost we would like to express our deep and sincere condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha for their loss. We are very sorry for what has happened,” Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran said Monday. "As a leading commercial radio broadcaster, we must ensure that our internal processes and protocols are robust. We don't claim to be perfect and we always strive to do better. We have initiated a detailed and rigorous review of our policies and procedures to inform any improvements we can make. We are also providing support to our people who are deeply saddened by this tragic and unforeseen event."

Greig and Christian also expressed their sadness about Saldanha’s death in interviews on Monday. “I don’t think that anyone could have predicted what could’ve happened,” Christian said.

“'The first thing I asked was: "Was she a mother?"' added Grieg. “If we played any involvement in her death then we’re very sorry for that. We couldn’t foresee what was going to happen in the future.”
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