Dec 9, 2012 Comments Off on Aussie Radio Station: Backlash To ‘Harmless Prank’ A ‘Witch Hunt’ Chuck Biscuits
Excerpted from The Telegraph: Sandy Kaye, a spokeswoman for Southern Cross Austereo, said the ferocious backlash against the hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, and the station, 2Day FM, had been unwarranted.
“It feels as through the British media are on a witch hunt,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
“It is quite easy to blame us … The Australian industry seems to sit quite fairly behind us. Prank calls have been going on for 50 years in the radio industry. It is not designed to humiliate or embarrass. All protocols were followed to the letter. It was only supposed to be a harmless prank.”
The company has today written to the hospital, King Edward VII, to say the tragic death of its nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, was “unforeseeable” but the broadcaster will review its processes.
“As we have said in our own statements on the matter, the outcome was unforeseeable and very regrettable,” said Max Moore-Wilton, the chairman of Southern Cross.
“We are all saddened by the events of the last few days. They are truly tragic … I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved.” Presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who made the prank call that duped Ms Saldanha into helping reveal details about the Duchess of Cambridge’s health, have also expressed a desire to speak about the tragedy.
The company was responding to an earlier letter from the hospital’s chairman, Lord Simon Glenarthur, who demanded that the station ensure the “truly appalling” broadcast of the hoax call “could never be repeated”.
In his reply, Mr Moore-Wilton promised to co-operate with any investigations into the matter.
“It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of any investigation that may be made available to us or made public,” he said.
Police in New South Wales said they have been contacted by London Metropolitan Police about the prank but there has not yet been a specific request for information.
Southern Cross has suspended advertising on 2Day FM and taken Ms Greig and Mr Christian off the air.
In a video message on the company’s website, Rhys Holleran, the chief executive, said it had no current plans to resume broadcasting the pair’s show.
“At this point in time, the radio show won’t go ahead into the future, and will be reviewed,” he said.
A post-mortem examination is due to be held this week and an inquest opened and adjourned at Westminster Coroner’s Court, Scotland Yard said.