An Australian radio station, whose broadcasters made a prank call to a London hospital, today defended its staff, saying it tried to contact the hospital nurses at least five times before airing the interview.
According to an ABC report, the parent company of the radio station Southern Cross Austereo defended its staff by saying its presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian followed proper procedures.
“It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people [the nurses] on multiple occasions,” company’s chief executive Rhys Holleran said.
“We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded. Before it went to air? Absolutely, we attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions,” he said.
The statement came after widespread criticism over the death of Indian-origin nurse 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha, who was found dead three days after putting through the call that gathered details of the pregnant Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s condition.
Last week, the two presenters aired a stunt in which they called London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital posing as the Queen and Prince Charles and got information about Prince William’s pregnant wife Catherine.
Commenting on the incident, the Australian federal opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the phone call was a prank that went “horribly wrong” and talk of more media regulation was premature.
“I think it’s important to let the dust settle before we rush into demands for more media regulation,” Abbott was quoted as saying by News Ltd.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today said the independent Australian Communications and Media Authority had received complaints about the call, and was considering a fast-track inquiry into the matter.
He said the authority had acted swiftly on the matter over the week-end “and hopefully we’ll hear from them shortly’’.
Meanwhile, thousands of Australians have come out in support of the two broadcasters, holding that the two presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian were not to blame for the tragic death of Saldanha.
News Ltd, which conducted a poll, revealed that over two-thirds of voters of more than 11,000 people who participated, said the radio pranksters should not be blamed for the tragedy.